MARION, IL (KFVS) - This week is the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam war.
To honor Vietnam veterans for their service, the Marion Veterans Affairs Hospital hosted a Vietnam War Open House at its Center for Behavioral Health on Tuesday.
Vietnam veterans received commemorative pins, coins and "welcome home letters" written by students of all ages throughout southern Illinois.
A Peer Support Specialist at the Marion VA, Samuel Hoekstra, said the program was meant to give Vietnam veterans the welcome home they never received.
"This is something not necessarily, Vietnam veterans didn't really have when they came home," Hoekstra said. "This was something trying to not only commemorate the 50th anniversary but kind of give them the welcome home they never had."
"We've learned our lesson from Vietnam. We need to honor those who fought for the freedom of this country and helped our way of life," Hoekstra said. "It's good to honor the Vietnam vets, not just their era but every era and so forth, but this is just a small little token of what we can give back to them."
The Center for Behavioral Health offers individual and group therapy programs serving veterans.