For local Vietnam veterans, it’s a moment they thought they’d never see. Many who served say they were ignored or treated poorly. But thanks to the Honor Flight, these American heroes are hearing the words “thank you” for the first time.
Wednesday was emotional for Johnnie Glascock, whose husband served in Vietnam. The veterans arrived back at Tuscaloosa Regional Airport to a hero’s welcome after spending the day seeing Washington, D.C.
“They didn’t get recognized when they came home (from Vietnam),” Glascock said. “They were spit at and mistreated.”
But Wednesday night, hundreds of thankful Americans came out and paid tribute. The plane was greeted with music, cheering crowds, a red carpet and plenty of red, white and blue.
Livingston Wells, a Vietnam veteran, said the day he returned to American soil in 1968, he made sure he had a change of clothes so he could avoid the rampant harassment that came with wearing a uniform.
“Nobody came up to me and said ‘good job, Wells’ until tonight,” he said.
It’s a feeling these veterans share.
“We came home to a lot of anxiety,” said veteran Steve Reinhart. “So it’s nice to be recognized. Today, every group we passed, young, middle age, senior citizen, they just praised us and wanted to shake our hands, and wanted to thank us for our service.”