Vietnam War veterans honored with lapel pins, ceremony

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Illinois leaders are taking time to honor the service Vietnam War veterans gave to their country.

The Thursday ceremony remembered the often quiet return home those veterans saw after their service ended, especially when compared to the parades and celebrations veterans from other wars returned to find.

The Vietnam War started in 1954 and lasted until 1973, when President Richard Nixon ordered the removal of all troops. Americans were bitterly divided over the conflict, which claimed about 58,000 American lives.

“At the time of the Vietnam War, there was so much controversy,” Gov. Bruce Rauner, who attended the ceremony, said. “They weren’t given the full respect and support they deserved, so we are having a special day today and every year to honor them.”

The ceremony happened at 10 a.m. Thursday in a ballroom on the University of Illinois Springfield campus. Each veteran received a lapel pin in recognition of their service.

“It’s important that we all remember that our veterans who served then were incredibly brave, incredibly strong and courageous,” Rauner added. “It took internal strength and belief in our nation and our flag to serve then, because the war was so controversial and all of us owe our Vietnam War veterans a special debt of gratitude for their bravery.”

UIS singers presented a rendition of “God Bless America” at the ceremony.

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