Vietnam Veterans Will Receive a Proper Homecoming at Parkview Field (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw - NBC33

October 4, 2013 Updated Oct 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NBC33) – Upon returning home from the Vietnam War, most veterans did not receive a very friendly welcome. On Saturday, a number of city, county, and state officials will try to fix that.

Mayor Tom Henry, Congressman Marlin Stutzman and a host of other local officials will be hosting a giant celebration to thank Vietnam veterans and their families on the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War.

Organizers have been working for the past year to put the event together which they say is long overdue.

"We feel it is time and well overdue that we give them a proper homecoming, a welcome home from that war to add some closure to it,” says Bennie Edwards, a Vietnam veteran and organizer for the event. “(We want) to also remember the POWs, MIAs that we will never forget and the sacrifices those Americans, those brave Americans made during that war."

The key note speaker of the event is Phillip R. Wise, a Vietnam veteran and medical technician who served in Operation Babylift. The mission was an attempt to evacuate Ameri-Asian orphans at the fall of Saigon, but ended in the death of hundreds. Wise was the mission's lone survivor. He will be sharing his story of the ill-fated mission along with a viewing of vignettes from the documentary “Operation Babylift.”

The event is free to the public and runs from 1PM to 4PM. Vendors will be on hand offering food, health screenings, even free haircuts.

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