FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Walking through the Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum, heroes of many different wars are honored
However on Monday, Vietnam War vets got the chance to be honored, and not just in Fort Wayne, but across the country on the national holiday.
Robert Thomas from the shrine says it’s important for every veteran to be honored, but especially those who served during Vietnam.
"They all came back to face a nation that kind of turned its back on the military completely at that point, and those guys felt neglected and left behind, and we want to honor that and bring back to let them know that yes, we do care," Thomas said.
The shrine hosted a memorial service to thank local Vietnam vets.
One of those vets on hand was Ed Placencia, who served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and was part of a battle that saw him lose 141 comrades and many more lost to the mental trauma of the war.
So a day like today is special for him.
"I see them every day, and now that our country is finally recognizing them and patting them on the back and telling them good job. I just think it’s well past due time," Placencia said.
Those at the ceremony also got to see a special exhibit to be finished soon.
The 80% replica of the Vietnam Mall that is in Washington D.C. is currently under construction. Soon, baring the name of the more than 58,000 lives lost in the war.
Placencia says that he, "Come out here as often as I could just to see it happen, and then once this base of this wall started going up, it brought a tear to my eye."
So, while the goal of the national holiday on Monday is to honor Vietnam veterans, Thomas hopes to keep what he says is a newfound appreciation for Vietnam veterans going for years to come saying "It’s a lot to sacrifice for your country that really can’t be measured any other way."
Thomas says the Vietnam Wall replica will be finished and shown to the public in a ceremony around Memorial Day.
More information about the Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum can be found here.