NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Decades after their service in the Vietnam War a group of area veterans are getting the thanks and respect they did not receive when they first came home.
The Vietnam War Commemoration event at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago is a long overdue honor for the veterans who are residents in assisted living on the campus.
Twenty of them were awarded pins thanking them for their service..
A simple gesture that means so much to 81-year old Army veteran Charles Dubre who says combat was a traumatic experience.
"It never ceases to amaze me that after 50 years many of them said no one's ever said thank you and welcome home," said Dr. Bob Buckley, Lovell Federal Health Care Center.
"I went from the airport to my home and from home to the next duty station, and I didn't play around with the public, because i knew what was out there," said Vietnam Veteran John Hargadine.
Florious LaBranche said her husband McKlosky Anderson appreciated this recognition.
"He said he wasn't treated fairly because when he came back home he wasn't recognize like a lot of the veterans came over and they didn't get the benefits they deserved," said LaBranche.
But the hope is that this ceremony rights a wrong and will take place each year through 2025 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
"I think definitely more recently we've done a much better job to recognize that people who are serving the country are serving the country, and I think we do a better job of honoring those people and their service," said Capt. Tom Nelson, Lovell Federal Health Care Center.