Wyoming Viet Nam Veterans Welcomed Home in Casper [VIDEO]
The war in Viet Nam began in 1965 when President Johnson escalated the US advisory role in the conflict with first bombing in 1964, the first US Marine combat troops in 1965.
It ended in 1975 with the last us personnel leaving the embattled capital of Saigon.
In between hundreds of thousands of mostly young men, and many young women went to war there, and nearly 60,000 did not make it home.
And because the war was so controversial and divisive, their welcome home was muted if not non-existent.
This week, Wyoming tried to make up for that just a bit with the Viet Nam veteran’s welcome home.
There were parades, speeches and military displays at the Casper Events Center.
The line was long at the table where journalist Joe Galloway held court. He was selling and signing copies of his best-selling 1992 book “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young.” the book recounts the battle of La Drang Valley in 1965. His experiences covering, and even participating in the battle were dramatized in the 2002 hit movie of the same name starring Mel Gibson as his co-author Col. Hal Moore. Galloway was portrayed by actor Barry Pepper, who ironically, also played the platoon sniper in “Saving Private Ryan.”
Senator Mike Enzi made an appearance to welcome the Viet Nam vets home, albeit several years late.
On a huge map of Viet Nam on the floor of the mezzanine level, veterans signed their names to show where they were stationed.
Names that were once part of the every evening news broadcast…Saigon, Hue, Cam Rahn Bay, Pleiku…and the notorious Ho Chi Minh Trail.
It was all over too soon, and some veterans lingered at the center, perhaps not wanting it all to end, the memories of fear, courage and old comrades came flooding back.
And everyone then went back to their regular daily lives, until next year, when they can once again renew old friendships, and even in an unpopular war, remind the world what duty and honor looked like.