January 27, 1973- a peace armistice was signed and the Vietnam War was over. And for the service men and women who survived, they were finally coming home, but sadly their homecomming was anything but welcomed. Our country's finest felt the brunt of the backlash from harsh critics of the war they called unwarranted.
"People just thought we were baby killers, said Retired Air Force Sergeant Robert Fry, "The only thing that we got were, we were spit on, and kicked, and cursed, and to me that's not right."
It wasn't until years later the sentiment began to change and the brave men and women of the Vietnam War started to receive the recognition long overdue.
Sunday in Bay County, the Veterans Task Force of Northwest Florida paid tribute by unveiling a new Vietnam memorial plaque in the Oaks by the Bay Park in historic St. Andrews.
"I call that the wall. I just think it's wonderful that they've done that," Retired Air Force Nurse Colonel Norma Jean Butler said.
Two words heard time and time again at the ceremony were "welcome home," a simple phrase that for most may not mean much, but for the veterans, it's life-changing.
"The chills just run from my toes to my head," said Sgt. Fry.
"I am proud to have served my country and I would do it again," added Col. Butler.