A Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans ceremony is scheduled at Barksdale Air Force Base later this month.


Colonel Bruce Cox, courtesy of 307bw.afrc.af.mil

307th Bomb Wing Commander Col. Bruce Cox told me the gates will open at 12:30, and the event starts promptly at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, the day before the Defenders of Liberty Air Show. He says ceremonies like this are going on all across the nation, with the sole purpose of honoring and thanking 7.2-million living Vietnam veterans and their families.

"As you know, the Vietnam War went on for quite a long time, so they're honoring the group that served from November 1st, 1955, through May 15th, 1975," Col. Cox said. "The intent for this is to provide this group of veterans, really, two of the most potent words that they never heard when they came home from service, and that's 'Welcome Home.'"

He said many Americans now look back and view the way the Vietnam veteran was 'welcomed' home as a national disgrace. He said following the many deployments his generation has been part of, the groups have returned to an incredibly grateful nation. They've been welcomed back with open arms, handshakes, and plenty of support.

"Hopefully with this event, we can start to right a national wrong, a disgrace that happened, when the Vietnam veterans returned home," he said. "We're joining many, many other commemorative partners in this. There are going to hopefully be over 9,000 ceremonies just this year, just like this, welcoming home our Vietnam veterans."

The local ceremony will feature two prominent guest speakers -- Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and the leader of Air Force Global Strike Command, General Robin Rand, if his scheduled allows for his participation.

If weather permits, the event will also include a special performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds at 3 p.m. Afterward, there will be a special pinning of veterans to honor their service. Everything takes place at Hangar 1 on the base.

Col. Cox said over 100 veterans have already pre-registered for the event, but he's hoping for many more. There are two ways to get signed up: via phone at 318-588-6920, or you can CLICK HERE for the online link.