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Vietnam War veterans honored with ceremony in Rocky Hill

Vietnam Veterans Michael Ragalsky (l-r) and Lawerence Riley were part of group of veterans honored at the Department of Veterans Affairs - March 30, 2023, Rocky Hill, Conn.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
Vietnam Veterans Michael Ragalsky (left) and Larry Riley (right) were part of group of veterans honored at the Department of Veterans Affairs on March 30, 2023, in Rocky Hill, Conn.

The Department of Veterans Affairs hosted a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Ceremony” Thursday in Rocky Hill to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the last U.S. troops to leave South Vietnam.

The ceremony consisted of a presentation of the colors by the Connecticut Army National Guard and the placing of the memorial wreath in remembrance of fallen veterans. Gov. Ned Lamont attended along with other elected officials.

Connecticut is the second state to pass legislation designating March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” The bill was authored by Vietnam Veteran Ted C. Graziani, who spoke at the ceremony and explained why he introduced the bill.

“It took this country too damn long to recognize us. When we came home, the first thing we did, we put our fatigues away. Because we found out real fast it wasn’t popular to say that you served in the United States Army in Vietnam,” Graziani said.

Video by Dave Wurtzel

Remarks from veterans and elected officials focused on the response Vietnam veterans said they faced 50 years ago upon their return to the United States.

“You came home while being attacked trying to adjust to civilian life,” said Thomas J. Saadi, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. "You came home with those physical and invisible wounds of your service. Sometimes to nightmares, to hypervigilance, to triggers that may continue to this day. Oftentimes waiting for years for treatment and recognition.”

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