From left, Gary Button, Russell Frederick, Dave Fraser, Ron Draper and Tom Visel were among the many Vietnam veterans honored at the Welcome Home remembrance held at American Legion Post 800 on March 30, 2016. This annual event commemorates the date that all combat troops returned home from Vietnam. The Mountain Quilters of Idyllwild donated quilts that were raffled at the event and the Idyllwild Bake Shop and Brew provided the cake.
Photo by Tom Kluzak
The American Legion Post 800 in Idyllwild hosts its annual “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” with food, boom-box music of the era and happy-hour drink prices.

Intended to honor the more than three million Americans who served in one of the longest conflicts in America’s war history, Vietnam Veterans Day was created by proclamation of President Barack Obama on March 29, 2012.

Said the president in his proclamation, “Our veterans answered our country’s call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam. Yet, in one of the war’s most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected — to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example. We must never let this happen again. Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations: to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us. Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return.”

Idyllwild’s Post 800 welcomes resident and visiting vets and their families and all others who wish to honor their service at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at the Legion at 54360 Marian View Drive.

Said President Obama, “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.”

Dave Fraser, Legion coordinator for the event, said, “When we came back from serving, all our guys ever wanted was a pizza, a beer and a ‘thank you.’” Fraser said the Mountain Quilters of Idyllwild will be on hand to present quilts commemorating Vietnam service. Quilts will be given out through “opportunity” drawings.