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Vietnam Veterans shown gratitude while looking back at past mistreatment

Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-13 19:50:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Members of several organizations came together Saturday morning to honor those that fought in the Vietnam War.

Thank you.

That’s what was expressed to Vietnam Veterans who were in attendance at Sherill Park. Giving them recognition they may not have had in the last 35 years.

"Not all wars are popular, all wars are bad, but to have a day like this for us is good," Noe Bocanegra said, a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Army. "We think of the good stuff and the bad stuff."

Kris 6 News's own Pat Simon was the guest speaker of the event. He touched on the fact that these veterans may not have been treated with a warm welcome upon returning home. So, now is the time to remind them they are appreciated.

"Many of you returned home not only with physical wounds, but also psychological scars as well."

Bocanegra said injuries he sustained in the war affect him today. He served as a combat medic.

“When I came back, of course, no one spoke to me," he said. "I have to live with that, but it was good. Glad I served. I’m proud of the service that I did for my country.”

That's the message Bocanegra spreads to all his fellow veterans. He owns a store at La Palmera Mall, War and Peace Limited. It's all things United States Military and although he's no longer a medic, he is still helping service members.

"Not to sell stuff, but to help them," he said. "You know, look around and talk about their service, be proud that they served. Don't be ashamed you served. Be proud and come around, look at all the great stuff that I have. You don't have to buy anything, just look at it. Be proud. It's a museum more or less."

Veteran Joe Elizondo served in the Marine Corp. He said he lost his brother and close friends in the war. Elizondo said he was shot multiple times in Vietnam and awarded several medals from the President. Elizondo believes the recognition must go to the ones that weren't able to come home.

“A lot of the service people did get mistreated, we know that," said Elizondo. "But we need to forget, we need to go forward. We need to really concentrate on what’s coming up. We don’t want a war to come to this country to this nation.”

A large part of the event was of honoring the 110 men from Nueces County that died in the war. A special ceremony will be held for them come March 29, Vietnam Veterans Day. That will take place at the county courthouse.

Keeping up with the theme of respect, the veterans honored Ukraine with the playing of the Ukrainian national anthem.

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