FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- 44 years after the end of the Vietnam War, dozens of Valley Veterans were honored Thursday at American Legion Post 509.
A federal program known as the Vietnam War Commemoration teamed up with Humana, a health and well-being company, to host the ceremony
"As a partner of that program we were able to get some supplies to be able to pin Vietnam War Veterans with little recognition, a welcome home, show some gratitude and honor their service," said Richard Duran from Humana.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 9 million Americans served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.
Nearly 7 million are living today.
This group of honored veterans served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between 1955 and 1975.
Organizers wanted to bring this ceremony to Fresno for the first time after meeting a local veteran who felt they weren't getting the recognition they deserved.
"He told me that I was the first one to ever acknowledge his service in Vietnam. And at that moment last September I decided we were going to bring that Vietnam pinning ceremony to Fresno, California," said Duran.
This pinning ceremony served as a "welcome home," publicly acknowledging the military service and sacrifices made by these veterans, and their families, during the war.
"It is good for the Vietnam Veterans to be recognized because it has taken so long since we weren't welcomed home when we came back from Vietnam. You know this makes up for part of that," said Cruz Cuellar, Vietnam veteran.
Cuellar was one of the veterans pinned, he served for two years in Vietnam. He said every veteran in every war should be given a warm welcome home when coming back to the United States.
"You know veterans need to be recognized for their service and what they did for this country. And so we would do it again without any questions asked," he said.
Dozens of Vietnam veterans in Valley honored in Fresno ceremony