LUBBOCK, Texas – On January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accord was signed, officially ending the American involvement in the Vietnam War. An event that is ingrained in history but is still a clear memory to many.
According to the department of veteran affairs, there are approximately 7.2 million Vietnam Veterans still present today. A community present in Lubbock gathered at the Silent Wings Museum to honor the fallen and celebrate their sacrifices.
Benny Guerrero, a United States Marine Corps retired commander, said many veterans gathered Thursday in remembrance of the Vietnam War they fought in, no matter the branch.
“Honoring those who have fallen, their sacrifices, and what it means to keep those stories alive,” Guerrero said.
These veterans gathered for a ceremony in remembrance of the Paris Peace Accord, sharing memories of deployment as if it were only yesterday.
Steven Oien, a United States Marine Corps veteran commander, recalled what it was like flying into Vietnam for the first time.
“Well, we flew in the country in the middle of the night, and you could look down there and see nothing,” Oien said, “but every once in a while, you see a flare, so it was kind of–I would say it was alarming because we weren’t prepared for where we were headed for.”
Some veterans recalled the moment they got that call to service.
“My mother called me and said ‘Hey, I got some news for you–got a surprise for you’—said ‘OK,’ so I went home for Christmas, and she said, ‘Here you go, your draft,’” said John Finke, a United States Marine Corps veteran.
Veterans and community members shared stories to honor those who have fallen, their sacrifices and what it means to keep those stories alive.