BELLEVUE, Wash. -- A Veterans Day ceremony in Bellevue drew a large crowd Monday morning. The city came together to honor veterans, active duty military, and their families at Sunset Hills Memorial Park.
Organizers wanted to make sure to honor Vietnam War veterans this year by giving them a commemorative lapel pin. It was a gesture to give surviving vets a proper welcome home.
"Vietnam was a turbulent time for the country and our veterans from that era didn't get the respect that we owe them. This is our opportunity to be able to provide them a little bit extra and welcome them home and say 'Thank you' for their service," said Bryan Grenon, Deputy Commander of the WA Army National Guard.
The executive director of USO/NW Donald Leingang adds, "Their welcome home wasn't necessarily how we'd like to remember it, so us coming in today and thanking those that served in the Vietnam era is important because it's a healing process for them."
Loren Noyse served in both Korea and Vietnam. He received his pin on the original uniform he wore when he was on active duty.
"Veterans don't get the recognition I think they should. All veterans give a lot for their love of the country. Fellow brothers and arms, and women now," said Noyse.
The ceremony also honored wives and mothers of deceased Vietnam veterans.
"I just look at my situation where I left with two young kids and my wife at home while I was serving this country. It's something that I signed up to do but it's difficult," said Grenon.
The ceremony also marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by reading President Dwight Eisenhower's letter to the troops wishing them good luck.
After the ceremony, participants placed flags and poppies on graves of veterans buried at Sunset Hills.
"It shouldn't just be one day. It should be every day. Every day that we step out of our houses and we enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy, that is on the backs of so many men and women that sacrificed so much, as well as their families," said Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett.