SAN BENITO — One of the city’s main concerns has always been its veteran population.
City officials always make the effort to honor those who have fought for their country.
In doing so, the city has established a strong Veteran’s Advisory Board over the past several years.
Victor Garza, board chairman, has wanted to hold a special event for Vietnam veterans, saying they deserve the special recognition.
City commissioners recently did not hesitate to approve the idea.
Garza has been in contact with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Catholic War Veterans and other local veterans groups.
The final details of the event have yet to be shared, but city leaders say they want to make it a large Valley-wide event.
“All the commanders are on board,” Garza said. “We want to make it as grand as possible.”
Mayor Celeste Sanchez agreed.
“President Obama two years ago read a proclamation encouraging everyone to recognize Vietnam veterans and that has not happened here,” she said.
The proclamation she is referring to is one made in March 2012 when Obama urged the nation to recognize Vietnam veterans.
“Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade. More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation,” the proclamation stated.
“Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict’s greatest cost.”
Despite serving the country, Garza said some Vietnam veterans were treated horribly upon their return.
Garza said many of the men and women who came home were shunned and neglected.
They faced treatment unbefitting of their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.
“We must never let this happen again,” Garza said.
“When they came home a lot of them were told not to wear their uniforms. Some were even spit on in public when they did.”
Now, those veterans who Garza said deserve our respect and gratitude will never have to worry about that again.
“These veterans are going to receive something they have not received before and that’s complete recognition,” Garza said.
He said the goal is to have this event in a larger venue, like the stadium, either in September or October.
Organizers hope veterans from all over the Valley will come and share in the event.