UPDATED 11/12/10 9:37 a.m.
CHICAGO (WBBM) – Chicago area Vietnam veterans gathered today to talk about their plans for June of next year — as they mark 25 years since the city honored Vietnam veterans with a parade.
By most accounts, the 1986 parade was long overdue. Finally a welcome home celebration for soldiers who returned from Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s.
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“The windows. The people throwing confetti out of the windows. The people just saying thank you. We never heard that when we came home,” said Roger McGill, 67. He was in the 25th Infantry in Vietnam.
“Our families knew what we did and who we were, but to hear it from other people that we thought never realized the sacrifices that we did – it brings goosebumps to me today to think of those… things.”
McGill says the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of that parade is to make sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to the next generation of veterans.
Musician Dennis DeYoung, formerly of Styx, performed at the Chicago welcome home event for Vietnam vets.
“One of the greatest moments of my life as a performer was playing on that stage in Grant Park in front of all those veterans. And they made me play ‘Black Wall’ three times. That doesn’t happen very often.”
DeYoung will perform again this June.
“Sound the bugle, boys, for a 21-gun salute. Call for the tickertape and assemble all the troops.
“Not a word about dominoes or the horrors of napalm. Let Johnny come marching home and greet him with a prayer and a psalm, for the boys of Vietnam.”