SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Many Vietnam Veterans were never welcomed home when they came back from war… Saturday, the Georgia Department of Veteran Services hosted a special ceremony to make sure those living in Savannah got that welcome home.
“Corporal Lambert Robert Dahlin, USMC… I have had some giant angels on my back and it really pulled me through,” said Lambert Dahlin, a Vietnam Veteran who served two terms in Vietnam as a lead patrolman on the ground.
“I always thought war was like something that you got in, you did your training and then you tap the person on the shoulder, on his shoulder and said you can go home now, I’m your replacement,” he said, “But when I got there, in Vietnam, it was totally different.”
Nearly 3 million deployed.
“It was like a different world because you’re like… you’re thinking is this the last… ’cause a lot of the guys get just wiped out.” Dahlin recalled.
More than 58,000 never came home.
For the more than 200,00 that came back to Georgia, many were never welcomed home.
“This is something that is long overdue our Vietnam veterans did not receive the welcome home that they should’ve received,” said Commissioner Mike Roby, with the Georgia Department of Veteran Services.
Saturday, under their new Vietnam War Certificate of Honor Program – nearly 50 veterans living in Savannah got that “welcome home”.
For Dahlin, it was the first time he had ever been formally thanked for his service.
“He’s gotten the sharpshooter award, he’s gotten decorated purple heart, and different certificates and accolades from his services,” said Dahlin’s daughter, Heather Vinas, “Regarding appreciation, this is the first time that he’s ever really been appreciated by the community and so for us it’s really hard heartwarming.”
With his wife, kids and grandkids there to witness it…
“Because I came back all this was made possible,” he said.
If you or someone you know is a Vietnam Veteran, you can apply for the Certificate of Honor and Lapel Pin through the program by sending your name, rank, branch of service, dates of service, and a copy of your DD Form 214 to firstname.lastname@example.org or Georgia Department of Veterans Service, Attn: Certificates, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30334, or call 404-463-3080 for more information.
The program is for Vietnam Veterans with honorable discharges.