By Gabriela Resto-Montero and C.S. Muncy
FINANCIAL DISTRICT— Hundreds of Vietnam War veterans gathered at a memorial service Downtown on Saturday to remember their shared sacrifice.
Supporters and ex-service members gathered at the Vietnam Memorial Plaza, at 55 Water Street, to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day.
"It's important to remember the sacrifices that were made, and the work of those who served their country so well," said John Rowan, 65, national president of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Veterans at the event, which was hosted by the United War Veterans Council, remembered a lukewarm reception at home after fighting overseas.
"There was a lack of responsibility towards the vets who came home," said Ken Trautman, 68, who fought with the 82nd, 101st and 173rd Army Airborne.
"A lot of them had been completely abandoned," he said.
Now, with Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, remembering the sacrifices of other soldiers becomes more important, said Staff Sergeant Mike Redman, 33, of the 6th communication battalion.
"Days like this are important because if you don't stop and remember those who came before you, you'll never get any better yourself," Redman said.