DFW National Cemetery

DFW National Cemetery Ceremony Honors Vietnam Veterans and Their Families

March 29 marks 50 years since the last U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam

NBC Universal, Inc.

On a rainy Wednesday morning, a small group of Vietnam veterans and their families gathers at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery to commemorate 50 years since U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam.

"I was injured from head to toe, basically," Vietnam veteran Louis Daily said. "Shrapnel. Shrapnel basically everywhere."

Daily was drafted into the Army when he was 21 years old. He served in Vietnam until a command-tripped explosive killed a platoon member he was with and severely injured Daily. He said doctors did not give him great odds for survival.

"He said, 'Louis, we got you 2-second, 2-minutes, 2-hours, 2-years, and you pick your two which way you're gonna go,'" Daily said getting choked up. "That was 55 years ago."

Daily said he still has a piece of shrapnel in his heart.

Wednesday's ceremony had a placing of a wreath and a release of pigeons. Veterans and their spouses were given pins of appreciation for their service and sacrifice.

Daily said when he came home from Vietnam, the reception was much different.

"We were not welcome," Daily said. He only started wearing a cap with '82nd Airborne' on it since he retired.

"We lost, ah, quite a few guys," Daily said moved to tears. "It's difficult for me..."

Vietnam marked an end to the Selective Service draft. Today's military service is voluntary.

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