KALISPELL- Fifty years ago — on March 29, 1973 — the last U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day was marked on Wednesday across the nation, including in Kalispell.
"Today we honor all those women who served our country during the Vietnam War, 3 million served,” said Jeff Heider who was the guest speaker at the event.
During the memorial in Depot Park around 50 people gathered to hear the names of all 266 Montanans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
The ceremony — hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Northwest Montana Chapter — provided an opportunity for remembrance for families affected by the war.
“We pray lord, that in some way, this will bring healing and peace in the hearts and minds of those who have been affected by that war,” said Pat Hurley, who gave the opening prayer.
The last 7,200 troops to leave Vietnam, as well as the countless others who did not return, were remembered and honored for their service on this National Day of Recognition.
“If you can, think of how different families and friends would be if the Vietnam War hadn't happened. How life would be different? Would they have been at their kid's games, graduations, wedding birth of their grandkids, fishing trips, vacations, but they are not," one member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Northwest Montana Chapter. said.
"So please, when you leave here today, never forget them. Honor them a little each day that we will never forget that time in the history of this country for a war that was unpopular they gave everything," the member continued. "For that, we honor them and those who came home. All gave some, some gave all,” said a member of