Copperas Cove’s Five Hills Scholarship Program royalty stepped up on Friday to help honor veterans of the Vietnam War at the Clear Creek Exchange.

The veterans lined up one by one royalty thanked them for their service, handed them proclamations from President Donald Trump and decals for their vehicles as the National Vietnam Veterans Day was celebrated along with the 50th anniversary of the war-torn conflict.

Miss Five Hills Emerald Bentley said it was an honor to be a part of the celebration.

“Listening to each service member’s account of his time in Vietnam was not only humbling, but intriguing,” Bentley said. “I am so happy we live during a time where we celebrate our veterans. So many of these men and women did not receive the traditional ‘welcome home’ as those do today. I was able to personally thank each person that I met and remind them that they are not forgotten and their sacrifices are appreciated.”

Veterans were also officially pinned with a commemorative fiftieth anniversary pin by Army and Air Force Exchange Services staff, who hosted the event and also thanked the veterans for their service as they posed for photos and enjoyed cake and coffee served by the royalty.

Senior Ms. Five Hills Donna Higgins stood with her husband, Terry L. Higgins, as he was pinned and honored.

“It will be hard to ever top the pride I felt helping with the ceremony and pinning of our Vietnam veterans. These veterans came home grieving for a war not won and buddies left behind,” Higgins said. “Vietnam veterans were not honored when they came home, so honoring these soldiers, and my husband, on National Vietnam Veterans Day will be a highlight of my reign.”

On March 28, 2017, Trump signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. March 29, 1973 was the day Military Assistance Command Vietnam was deactivated. The recognition joins six other military-centric national observances including Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day and Veterans Day.

Senior Ms. Krist Kindl Dawn Hale was honored and said she couldn’t think of a better cause to give her time to than welcoming home Vietnam veterans.

“Being a (retired) service member myself and personally partaking in homecomings of our soldiers, I wanted to make sure that they got a proper welcome home and to thank them for their service by letting them know that we are proud of them,” she said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that today there are 6.4 million living Vietnam veterans and nine million families of those who served during the Vietnam conflict. No distinction is made between veterans who served in country, in theater or who were stationed elsewhere as all were called to serve and none could self-determine where they would serve.

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