Borough President Vito Fossella and District Attorney Michael McMahon hosted a Vietnam Veterans "Welcome Home Breakfast" on Wednesday in the Hilton Garden Inn.
The breakfast was a way to finally say "thank you" to Vietnam Veterans, many of whom did not receive a warm welcome when they arrived back to the United States after their service. In a special touch, the breakfast took place on the 50th anniversary of when the last troops left Vietnam and the final group of American prisoners of war were freed and left Hanoi.
"We would not have the life we have today if it were not for those who dedicated their lives to protect the freedoms and people of our great nation,” said Borough President Fossella. "Our Vietnam Veterans were not appreciated appropriately when they came home from war, but we are forever grateful for their service and heroism and will continue to thank them every chance we can."
A “white table” was in the room to honor prisoners of war and soldiers who went missing in action. The table was set with silverware, a rose, a lit candle, a white tablecloth -- and an empty chair.
Also in attendance were Korean War veterans and Lt. Anthony Aquaro, a 102-year-old World War II veteran and retired firefighter.
At the end of the breakfast, the veterans were presented with a custom challenge coin as a symbol of thanks and appreciation.
To all of our veterans and those still serving today, we offer our thanks.