Hundreds of people turned out to honor New Mexico Vietnam Veterans, during the dedication ceremony for the new Vietnam War Memorial in Las Cruces Saturday.
Veterans were emotional as the monument was unveiled.
“it feels good, it feels real good,” Vietnam Veteran Claude Gomez said.
The memorial is titled ‘Heroes Never Thanked,’ because those who served say they were forgotten when they first came home from war.
“When we came back, nobody wanted to see us,” Vietnam Veteran Miguel Estrada said.
They tell Abc-7 they’re still healing from those wounds.
“They wouldn’t let us go into the VFW’s, we were called baby killers,” Vietnam Veteran Francisco Rios said.
The memorial honors all Vietnam Veterans and the 398 New Mexico Vietnam Vets killed during the war and includes their names and photos. It honors all 7 branches of military involved in Vietnam. The monument was in the works for eight years. It still needs work done in some areas before completion, but veterans say they’re grateful they’re alive to see the work in person.
“There’s a lot of soldiers who don’t get to see it and I have a lot of friends who have passed on and after they came back for various reasons,” Gomez said.
Once completed, the memorial will include a Red Cross Huey helicopter mounted above the monument.