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Two groundbreaking ceremonies held on National Vietnam Veterans Day in Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska – They fought in the Vietnam War, sacrificing their lives for their country. However, when these courageous Americans went home, they weren’t exactly greeted as heroes by their communities.

As a result, the United States now observes National Vietnam Veterans Day each year. And on Tuesday in the metro area, two big groundbreaking events took place, both of which focused on the care and respect that should be given.

Gov. Pete Ricketts attended the two groundbreaking events on National Vietnam Veterans Day Tuesday. The first is a large, $5 million Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be built close to the SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion. The second is in Bellevue, where work has begun on a $9.4 million, 25,000 square foot expansion of the Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home, which will add dozens of beds and improve service levels.

“On the 49th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. It’s important for us to recognize the sacrifices our Vietnam veterans made,” Ricketts said.

In the period 1964-1975, more than 3.4 million Americans were deployed to Southeast Asia, with 40,000 of those who served in that period still residing in Nebraska today.

In the Vietnam War, more than 47,000 Americans died, including 396 Nebraskans. As a result, soldiers who returned home, like Hagel and Purple Heart recipient Jim Cada, have dedicated their lives to serving other Vietnam War veterans.

“You know, I belong to the purple heart group, and I can tell you we all have that feeling for each other, and the fact that we’re there is a miracle of itself. We talk about what happened, we talk about the future and we all work for other veterans,” Cada said.

“I think these memorials, to recognize men and women who serve their country unselfishly, totally unselfishly, are great reminders of what should we be doing, what can we do, what shouldn’t we do. They’re quiet havens, spiritual havens, really,” said Hagel, who also went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Defense.

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