Vietnam Veterans share journey after service

Vets honored with Vietnam War anniversary ceremony
Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 17:55:57-04

Vietnam Veterans were honored with a ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the war. For some, it's recognition that they didn't get after their service. 

"My family and friends, a lot of them were protesting against the war anyway and they couldn't’t believe that I wanted to support something like that," Vietnam Veteran Anne Saurbaugh said. 

Anne Saurbaugh knew how people felt when she left to serve in the Vietnam War, but she had no idea what it would be like to return. 

"It was something you didn’t say because you got strange looks and people wanted to know about why you would do something that was such a lost cause," Saurbaugh said. 

She was the first woman to be trained in small arms repair and was deployed to Germany. It's an experiences that connected her with her now husband Jan. 

"Someone said there was another Vet from Maryland and they introduced us," Saurbaugh said. 

Jan joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school and was assigned to Western Pacific duty in California. The two have been married for almost 40 years, meeting in college after their service. 

"Even after I got out, people in the town didn't want anything to do with the soldiers," Jan Saurbaugh said. 

In the last decade, they have seen a change; more appreciation for their choice to support the country. They can now go to ceremonies like the Vietnam War 50th anniversary ceremony at Baltimore National Cemetery Thursday. 

"It's great. The recognition, especially for those that aren’t able to be here, that are here but not able to be here, we salute them," Jan said. 

Dozens gathered to remember fallen soldiers and show their appreciation with a wreath-laying ceremony. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs said the anniversary is being recognized from 2012 to 2025 to include the entire Vietnam era. 

"It is the one thing that those people who step forward and serve our country are asking, for a nations thanks, and we didn't do that properly the first time around with respect to our Vietnam Veterans and we are trying our very best to do that now," Rep. John Sarbanes said. 

"We all appreciate it. It’s never too late," veteran Reginald Jordan said. "I focus now on the younger veterans right now. We are more concerned about the quality of life and service that the vets are getting as far education, employment and the opportunity to take care of their families."

See a photo gallery of other local veterans here.