HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - Invited guests and hundreds of Vietnam veterans gathered to hold a candlelight vigil in memory of their hard fought challenge during and after the Vietnam war.
The ceremony's keynote speaker was Rear Admiral Charles W. Ray, District Commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District in Honolulu. The vigil specifically honors Vietnam veterans, "We all know that the benefits that today's veterans have are a direct result of the experiences and not so good experiences of our Vietnam veterans." he said.
Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs was present to honor and personally thank the men and women of that generation. "So to all of those Vietnam vets, thank you for taking care of my generation of vets, thank you for being there for us and teaching this country to love our warriors." she said.
Many of the veterans arrived as part of a 350 motorcycle cavalcade, many of them having lived through what was once considered America's lost war, both afield and at home.
Terri Watkins, a 30 year veteran who served in the Navy said, "We need to respect these people and we need to make sure everybody knows that sacrifices were made and we have to show up and do these kinds of things to honor them."
The ceremony concluded with a 21 gun salute and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter fly-over, while electric candles were held towards the sky, in remembrance of those who have served and continue to do so today.
Samantha Kennebeck, who's brother is currently serving in Afghanistan says the service made all the difference in the world. "I just feel really warm knowing that there are good people out there." she spoke with tears in her eyes.