&source=gmail&ust=1553981347369000&usg=AFQjCNFHFgSKO90RCE1u9Y_au_vAn0o16Q" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/exchangeassoc/33608710258/in/feed" target="_blank">The free lapel pins, provided in partnership with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, are a token of the Nation’s appreciation for these heroes, who, decades ago, did not receive the homecomings they deserved.

Doug Dixon, from Camden, S.C., spent 13 years in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He said he never received a proper thank-you for his service other than from his wife, Leah, who was a Veterans Affairs nurse.

“It was everything but ‘thank you’ when we returned to San Francisco back in 1969,” Dixon said after receiving his pin in a ceremony at Fort Jackson. “Not a lot of thank-yous then. I left it behind me. It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years. It seems like it was just yesterday.”

Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull, a Vietnam-era Army Veteran, understands the importance of recognizing Veterans from that era for their sacrifice.

“Too many of my Soldiers came back from Vietnam broken,” Shull said. “The American public didn’t understand their sacrifices—and these heroes didn’t receive the homecoming they so rightly deserved. This is a way to thank them and extend a small measure of the gratitude they did not receive as they returned from combat.”

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is a program administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The U.S. began commemoration of the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary in 2012 and will continue through Veterans Day 2025.

The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize Vietnam Veterans and their families for service, valor and sacrifice in conjunction with the Commemoration.

Maj. Gen. (Retired) James Jackson, Commemoration director, was grateful for the Exchange’s continued partnership.

“Working with the Exchange has enabled us to greatly increase awareness,” Jackson said. “As a result, we were able to commemorate the achievements and sacrifices of deserving Vietnam Veterans today.”