SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) Today marks 44 years since the last U.S. troops were pulled from the Vietnam War. Wreath-laying ceremonies were held across Roanoke and Salem to honor Vietnam Veterans.
For the veterans, the ceremony was long overdue, especially for Dennis Juornell.
"It's overwhelming to me, it really is," Juornell said.
He served time in the Navy and Army for more than 20 years. He and several others were awarded the Commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.
"I couldn't hardly believe it, it's a great honor," Juornell said.
With an estimated 20,0000 Vietnam Veterans in our area, a little more than 30 were given the commemorative lapel pin today.
"I think to those veterans, it's just a sense of I was forgotten...and that's why it means to much to them to come up and get that lapel pin and to be recognized for their service," Ken Ray, of Association of the United States Army, said.
The committee hopes the people realize the significance of the troops.
"Just remember that someone scarified one way or another to keep our country free and without that sacrifice we we would be a nation under turmoil, " Ray said.
Through the remainder of the year the AUSA will hold more events to ensure as many Vietnam Veterans are honored for their duty.
"To me it's a big deal ... yeah it's definitely deserved," Juornell said.