Pinning ceremony in Longview honors Vietnam veterans

Pinning ceremony in Longview honors Vietnam veterans
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 1:43 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:23 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - They fought for our country, and many received no thanks for it at all. Well, that has changed for Vietnam Veterans.

An effort to thank Vietnam era veterans is spreading across the country, and today 40 veterans and widows were honored at Arabella of Longview Independent Living.

Vietnam War Navy Veterans Tommy Gautreau and Glen Bellomy, Army Veteran Sgt. Major Fred Winters and several dozen other Arabella residents may not have known each other before moving in, but they share a commonality.

“It’s a common bond or a common thread that we all served in the military whether it be Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, we all did our time. We all served. We all signed on the dotted line saying that we’re going to give our life to serve our country for the freedoms that you and I now deserve,” Winters said.

For that agreement, they are now officially thanked with a pinning ceremony.

“It’s a welcome home for the Vietnam Veterans that really never had a welcome home. You know, normally you have the big parades and crowds and stuff. And you were welcomed back after your military encounters, but it didn’t really happen for the Vietnam Veterans,” Gautreau said.

“Our society was in (unrest). And it didn’t matter what it was. We were, we had committed ourselves to a cause, and that was our government. And we were willing to fight for it. So, really that’s what’s important. And I hope our children and grandchildren hear that, and can understand that,” Bellomy said.

“It was emotional, being finally able to say thank you and welcome home,” Winters said.

“We have to stand for something, and we still have the best thing in the world,” Bellomy said.

The pin is a little thing, but it’s backed by big feelings.

Winters said he was surprised when he discovered so many Vietnam Veterans were living at Arabella. He also said widows of veterans aren’t normally included in the ceremony, but several of their husbands were killed in action. Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, are eligible to receive the pin, whether they went to Vietnam or not.