Vietnam War veterans honored at Black Hills National Cemetery

STURGIS, S.D. (KEVN) - A rather gloomy morning brings back memories for individuals who put their lives on the line in Vietnam combat decades ago.

It is for that bravery that the Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Black Hills Health Care System came together to give recognition they feel should have been given a long time ago.

Adriene Benton, director at the Black Hills National Cemetery, says "so today we were here to thank and welcome our Vietnam veterans thank them for their service, something that they didn't get a long time ago."

Remembering all veterans who served in the battle lasting from 1955 to 1974 and honoring the 30 veterans present today for their commitment during that time.

The group was surrounded by family and friends, those who get to see their faces and hear their voices day to day.

Aaron Olson, a veteran, and son-in-law of one says "It's apparent or obvious to me when you spend time with a veteran or someone that has served. You see those values throughout their everyday life. That transitions into their families and their friends around them where those values are shared."

Benton says, so today we recognized them with a lapel pin that symbolizes many different things, the freedoms that they provide for us and our appreciation from a grateful nation to our Vietnam veterans and their family members.

Most importantly, acknowledged with thanks.

Bud Kopp, served from 1965-1967, says "I don't think we want any recognition. It's kind of nice to see that people respect what we did, even though in the Midwest, I think the welcome homes we're alot better than some of the larger cities as I understand it."

Kopp continues, "This event today it just wouldn't be better, it just makes us as veterans feel just awesome."