MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) Fifty-two Wisconsin veterans received their long overdue welcome home from Vietnam with cheers and chants of "USA! USA!"
A homecoming celebration for the Old Glory Honor Flight Return to Nam trip was held at Menasha High School Saturday evening. Community members filled the school's fieldhouse to give the vets the respectful and honorable welcome home they never received during the Vietnam War.
You could hear a pin drop in the field house in the anticipatory moments leading up to the arrival of the vets. Once the doors opened, the crowd erupted in cheers and patriotic chants.
Wives hugged their husbands, beaming with pride. Lives were changed forever on this journey.
"I was ready to cry," Vietnam Veteran A.J McCaskey said. "It was really good."
For nearly two weeks the veterans bonded with people they were once at war with.
A lot of veterans told Action 2 New this journey was a healing process for them and they're happy they took the trip.
He was a 15 year old boy and an American rocket hit him and I just felt so terrible for him, but yet happy that because the respect that he had for me all this time," Vietnam Veteran Eugene Therrien said. "He showed no remorse against me or America after this man went through all of them years crippled and that's what Vietnam is not about. They forgave us I hope."
Action 2 News anchor Jeff Alexander and photojournalist Bill Kumbalek were with the veterans as they traveled from Saigon to Hanoi. A healing unfolded in front of our eyes. The veterans were able to put to rest some demons and come to appreciate the culture of Vietnam and its people.
CLICK HERE to watch the entire welcome home celebration.
CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the Return to Vietnam series.