Christine Lee, Grand Prairie Reporter
March 29 is officially "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" in Grand Prairie as well as the rest of the state. The national event is actually on March 30th, but Texas is observing the holiday a day early.
The city of Grand Prairie held an inaugural event Thursday to honor its Vietnam War veterans.
Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day started out with a Huey helicopter flying over the city's Veteran's Memorial. Lines of people with American flags and smiles welcomed the veterans as they made their way inside the Veterans Memorial Event Center.
Vietnam veteran Albert Veal said it was a different scene than when he first returned from the war.
"There was no welcome at all. Matter of fact, they said bad things about us," he said.
Sekora Martinez came out with her family to support her father, missing a part of school in the process.
"Family comes first, so I skipped just a little bit," she said. "It means a lot to know that my father did serve our country and that he is able to be here with us."
Sekora's father, Miguel Martinez, served in the U.S. Army during the war. He said he was overwhelmed by the support he got at Thursday's event.
"You feel very special -- that my family was there, greeting me, coming back home after 45 years, so it was something special," he said.
Susan Henson, of the city of Grand Prairie, said she hopes the city can celebrate its veterans annually on March 29.
"It's so important that we welcome and thank every one of them, because they were the ones who made today possible," she said.
Veterans of other wars came out to show their appreciation as well.