Knoxville holds first ever Vietnam Veterans Day celebration

Knoxville holds first ever Vietnam Veterans Day celebration

Posted:
It was standing room only for the Vietnam Veterans who gathered today at the old L&N railroad to be honored. It was standing room only for the Vietnam Veterans who gathered today at the old L&N railroad to be honored.
There are 27 Tennesseeans that are still considered missing in action from the Vietnam War. There are 27 Tennesseeans that are still considered missing in action from the Vietnam War.
Bill Robinson, who now lives in Madisonville, was a prison of war in Vietnam for eight years, making him the longest held enlisted POW. Bill Robinson, who now lives in Madisonville, was a prison of war in Vietnam for eight years, making him the longest held enlisted POW.
A Vietnam Veteran salutes those who gave their lives serving our country. A Vietnam Veteran salutes those who gave their lives serving our country.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Hundreds of people turned out Saturday for Knoxville's first ever Vietnam Veterans Day celebration.

President Obama declared March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day back in 2011, marking the day in 1973 when the last of the US combat troops left Vietnam after nine years of war.

The unpopular war left more than 58,000 American soldiers dead, and more than 1600 missing in action, who remain unaccounted for today.

And now, for the first time in 41 years, a celebration in East Tennessee of the service and sacrifice, including that of the brave men and women who were able to make it home safely after serving their country overseas.

"It's very important that we make sure that they are honored and welcomed home and respected the way they should be," said Sue Dauber, organizer of the event, and board member for the Rolling Thunder.

It's recognition that's been a long time coming for these veterans.

It means a lot to them all, especially to those like retired Air Force Captain Bill Robinson, who spoke at the event.

Robinson, who now lives in Madisonville, was a prison of war in Vietnam for eight years, making him the longest held enlisted POW.

He says although many people disagreed with the war, he believes all veterans deserve recognition for their service.

"We all have a right to our opinions about war. But we don't when it comes to the warriors. The warriors are our sons and daughters who have took up the cause, fighting for freedom," said Robinson.

Today's event also paid special honor to the American service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

They recognized those who lost their lives, like Jo O'Neal's son Steve, who was just 20 years old when he died.

"This day set aside for them, I just think it's wonderful. They're getting honored now," said O'Neal, of Chattanooga.

They also read aloud the names of the 27 Tennesseans who are still missing in action.

WATE 6 News' own Don Dare is a Vietnam War veteran.

He served as emcee for the Vietnam Veterans Day event.

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