MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Many Vietnam War veterans will tell you--a welcome home celebration is long overdue.
"Oh, this is an honor," says Vietnam veteran Hoot Gibson.
Gibson remembers coming home after the war.
"People spit in our face. The treatment we received...no honor, no respect."
But instead of shame--a celebration at Garrett Coliseum on the first day of the Alabama National Fair.
Hundreds received thanks and gratitude for a war fought years ago.
"I wear my hat and people find out and they come up and say thanks for serving and that means a lot," says Gibson.
"You just appreciate everything everybody's put into this. It just warms the heart. I'm so happy to be here," says John Terrell.
A parade kicked off the ceremony led by Vietnam war hero Leutenant General Hal Moore.
And while the accomplishments of these men and women were honored, so, too, were the ones of those who never made it home.
"Our lives have been made possible by those who can't stand with us, but who's memories live on," says Moore.
Moments of silence met with moments of joy not just for veterans, but their families, too.
"Proud...very proud," says veteran wife, Sandy Pennington.