Vietnam vets celebrate 25th anniversary of historic parade

June 17, 2011

Vietnam veterans gathered at Chicago's Navy Pier Friday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Chicago Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home parade.

The 1986 march was the largest event of its kind in American history. Over 200,000 people walked through the Loop, while over 300,000 people gathered to watch. Friday's events were only the beginning of a weekend-long celebration to commemorate the march, as well as recognize veterans from all wars.

Ed Marco was stationed in Vietnam from 1969-1970. He said the reception he recieved when he first arrived back in the U.S. was completely different from when he marched down LaSalle Street 25 years ago.

"When you came home, you took your uniform off immediately. You took your uniform off as soon as you could. You wanted to let your hair grow out, you wanted to take your uniform off--you wanted to put Vietnam behind you," he said. "At the parade, there were supposedly 300,000 people at that parade. It was just monumental."

Navy Pier will display a model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall until Sunday.

 

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