CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The great American pastime took a backseat to some great Americans at Whataburger Field Thursday night.
Nearly 40 Vietnam War veterans received pins recognizing their service.
“It’s refreshing after all of these years," veteran Joseph Baque said. "It was an honor to serve."
The Corpus Christi Hooks and health insurance company Humana teamed-up to put on the pinning ceremony through the Vietnam War Commemoration program.
President Barack Obama and the United States Congress started the program in 2012 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the war and to thank and honor the men and women who fought in it.
More than 58,000 of them died, and one of Thursday's pin-recipients had close relationships with some of them.
“I lost quite a few of my friends over there,” Vietnam War veteran known simply as T.C. said.
The program also attempts to right a wrong.
When they returned home from the battlefield, many Vietnam War veterans encountered people who didn't support them and had harsh words for them.
"We were baby killers and everything," veteran Hector Rubio said. "They hated us. And we did what we had to do for our country."
Rubio became emotional discussing how the public treated him after coming home, but he says events like tonight's provide some consolation.
“This is part of it, and I appreciate it," he said.