More than 60 people attended the service, according to Adjunct Jerry Diskin.
James Moberly, a retired U.S. Air Force medic, said he's fortunate not to suffer from the conditions known by many Vietnam survivors. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 into law, designating March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Veterans then lined up to receive a pin from either Gen. Shelton or Randy Reeves, designating them as Vietnam veterans.
Vietnam veterans joined together in unity to remember their sacrifices and honor those lives lost. The program in some ways provides a belated welcome home to veterans who were not welcomed back when the returned from Vietnam. "Even though I was drafted I'm glad I served", said Vietnam Veteran Franklin Peuker. "A lot of people have said we should be victims - that we should hang our heads".
For some, the emotional pain of what they experienced both in Vietnam and stateside never goes away.
"It's just, I like the support, the enthusiasm and the interest", Watts said.
"People stop and they thank you for your service, and they're really appreciative", Zemel said of the interactions he has nowadays. There was a fair to help provide resources for these veterans followed by a ceremony to thank those vets. Ware said, "coming up and thanking me for my service where before they just ignored it and didn't care".
He talked about Vietnam War veterans leading the call for welcome-home parades after the first Gulf War, working to expand services for post-traumatic stress disorder, and striving to improve services at Veterans Affairs medical facilities. You don't know what I did.
"Today, we're doing what we should've done 50 years ago", said Dr. Margie Scott, medical director of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
"While you may not be members of what Tom Brokaw termed 'the greatest generation, ' you are the greatest members of your generation, the embodiment of all that makes America great".
A tiresome roar of conversation filtered out from VFW Post 1287 as more than two dozen veterans regaled their comrades with stories of valor and loss Thursday afternoon during the fifth annual National Vietnam Veterans Day open house.