"It was a beautiful and heart-felt ceremony and it was a privilege to be a part of it," said Hays. "These veterans sacrificed everything, in one of the most challenging periods in U.S. history. We truly owe a debt of gratitude to our Vietnam Veterans that can never, ever be repaid, and I appreciated having an opportunity to extend my personal thanks and respect to those who served, and the families who also made huge sacrifices."
March 29 is now known as Vietnam Veterans Day, and this year also marked the 50th anniversary of the United States' involvement in the conflict in Southeastern Asia. In honor of the day and in reverence to those who served, commemorative services were held Tuesday across the country.
"The lack of a welcome home to these soldiers back then was inexcusable," said Hays, "but the reverence for their service is now finally universal."