Vietnam vets to be officially welcomed home Saturday

Published: Mar. 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISBURG, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of eyes will be focused on the big infield stage at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for this weekend's Vietnam Veteran's Homecoming  Celebration.

However, expect moving moments to be delivered by etched words in small print.

On hand will be a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial that's found in our nation's capitol.

It has the names of more than 58 thousand veterans who lost their lives in that conflict, but these days there's a different kind of pain.

Vietnam era veteran Keith Arbuckle is part of the Patriot Guard Riders that travels with the exhibit, and is grateful for the overdue greetings of gratitude.

"Knowing so many Vietnam veterans to see what they go through, and they have a lot of pain, "he said. "So much anger that's been bottled up. They've had to go through this for 30 something years. "It's never too late."

The 20th century is filled with examples of celebrated of military home comings, but so many have agreed that our country fell short in honoring Vietnam veterans.

Dick Steeves is a former fighter pilot who fought in the Vietnam war who now works with the U-S-O which is one of the sponsors of the big festivities.

He's hoping this weekend's welcome will inspire a sense of healing.

He said, " For some of the guys that there on in years now who were 17, 18, 19 years old. They never got any recognition. Other than the kind they didn't want.

Back at the wall, we found those who took time to reflect upon the sacrifices.

Todd Mitchell did not fight in Vietnam but served in Germany during the 1980's.

He knows behind every name on the memorial there's a father, a brother, or son that's left a loved one behind.

" These names means a lot to me, because they fight our freedom."

More than 65,00 visitors are expected at Saturday's event.

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.