Vietnam veterans recognized at American Legion Post 22

Published: Mar. 31, 2018 at 5:45 PM MDT
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It was a time in our history when war heroes didn't get a proper "Welcome Back" when they returned home decades ago.

We see how on Saturday the American Legion recognized veterans from the Vietnam War.

Governor Dennis Daugaard proclaimed March 30th as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day" in South Dakota.

And on Saturday the American Legion Post 22 honored these veterans with a ceremony filled with food and prayers.

American Legion Post 22 Commander Duane Fink says, "It's important because they are the forgotten few, or many I guess you can put it. They really never had an official welcome back and I think they've just kind of been lost along the way."

More than 26,000 South Dakotans served during the Vietnam era.

Rod Martens answered the call to serve when he was 22 years old in 1970.

Rod Martens says, "What they have going on right here today is nice to get the recognition that people should have had years ago. The atmosphere of the United States and the people was way different than it was during that time because the protests at that time were just un-American."

Duane Fink says, "As a veteran as a Vietnam vet, it means the world to know that there's actually somebody out there that cares enough to recognize and honor us."

Martens was a welder for the U.S. Navy Seabees, and we asked him what it was like having boots on the ground.

Rod Martens says, "You get a little different mindset about it. Everyday is a different day and you just put your mind to what you have to do."

They also honored their brothers and sisters who have fallen during the war, and those who were prisoners of war or missing in action.

March 30th was chosen because it was the last day during the war when an American soldier was killed in Vietnam.

If you're a veteran and are wondering what resources are available to you, visit