Vietnam veterans lapel pin.

Iowa’s lone national cemetery in Keokuk was the site of a special ceremony Friday morning to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

More than 60 people attended and heard from Mayor Tom Richardson. “Thank you for your service to your country and we welcome you back home. Many of you did not hear those words over 50 years ago when you returned home, but you are hearing them now, welcome home and thank you.”

Richardson says the news media at the time turned many in the U.S. against the soldiers. But he says their service will never be forgotten. “The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment in Vietnam. This is the information you didn’t hear when you came home,” Richarson says.

The ceremony concluded with veterans receiving a special Vietnam Veterans Lapel Pin. The front of the pin features a Bald Eagle and a U.S. Flag and says Vietnam War Veteran. The back says “A Grateful Nation Thanks And Honors You.” They were created to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and are handed out to anyone who served in the military from November 1st, 1955 through May 15th, 1975.

(Thanks to Jason Parrott, Tri States Public Radio)