BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi National Cemetery hosted a public ceremony Tuesday morning to pay tribute to the more than three million servicemen and women that served during the Vietnam War. It's part of a nationwide, multi-year commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of the war.
Those gathered alongside the tombstones of the fallen came to honor both living veterans and those who died fighting in Vietnam. Veteran Catalino Aguda, III served a generation later in Iraq. He came with a special motorcycle group.
"We are representing chapter 44-1 Gulf Coast of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association," Aguda explained. "Our commander today will be laying the reef recognizing the Vietnam veterans that are still alive and those that were killed in the action."
Also among the crowd, Vietnam veteran Ronald Avery, who lost his twin brother to cancer. Although he visits his brother's grave site at Biloxi National Cemetery on a regular basis, he said there was no way he would miss this special opportunity.
"It's always a pleasure to take and honor the vets from Vietnam and try to remember these things from back during that time," said Avery.
Some are just happy that Vietnam War veterans are finally getting the respect that they deserve.
"They come back, those that did service, they were spit on and pushed around, they were never recognized," Aguda remembered. "This is a very well overdue event."
March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day because it was on that day in 1973 that U.S. troops officially withdrew from Vietnam. A nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war is currently underway. It started on Memorial Day 2012 and runs through Veterans Day 2025. Learn more about the commemoration at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/ or follow the organizers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VietnamWar50th/