By Reggie Jarrett
Jax Air News Editor
More than 70 stateside commissaries, including Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, honored the military members who were on active duty during the Vietnam War era as part of Vietnam Veterans Day March 29.
All Vietnam era veterans who served from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 were invited to attend the ceremony hosted by the Defense Commissary Agency.
“We are showing appreciation for their service,” said Bob Darden, assistant store director of the NAS Jacksonville commissary. “It is something veterans are deserving of.”
About 20 Vietnam veterans who attended the ceremony received a lapel pin and other gifts, as well as a handshake and a thank you.
“Thanking them is the most important thing,” Darden said.
“Because when many veterans came home from the Vietnam War they did not feel appreciated as they anticipated they would.”
One of the veterans at the ceremony was Tyrone Oakes, who joined the Army in 1969.
“Respected, that’s how it makes me feel,” he said. “In those days, you didn’t join the military for money. It was for honor and country.”
Vietnam Veterans Day was established in 2012. Approximately 9 million U.S. military members served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. Of the 2.7 million who served in Vietnam, more than 58,000 were killed and more than 304,000 were wounded.