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Wyoming Veterans Welcome Home Celebration

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CHEYENNE, Wyo.– A military homecoming is a very moving event as service members jump into the arms of their loved ones. These reunions serve as powerful reminders to veterans that their sacrifices are appreciated.

During the Vietnam War, people did not always show their appreciation for veterans who came home. 

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and his wife, Jennie, Maj. Gen. Greg Porter, the Adjutant General of Wyoming, and Command Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Kenneth Persson, Chairman of the Wyoming Veterans Commission, traveled to Rock Springs, Cody, Powell Guernsey, Wyoming, to honor the sacrifices of veterans during the “Wyoming Veterans Welcome Home Day,” on March 23, 2024.  

“Today, we give a lot of thanks to each of you and your families,” Gordon said. “We are saying welcome home.”

The day of welcoming was codified in state law during the 61st legislative session on March 30 of each year, when the date U.S. combat troops would have set foot on Wyoming soil after returning home from the Vietnam War in 1973.

“George Patton IV, son of George Patton Jr., said, ‘Wars are fought with weapons, but they’re won by the men and women…then in each generation, if we are to remain a great nation, a few of us are called perhaps by the almighty to serve our nation,’” Gordon said.

He went on to say that veterans guaranteed and protected the freedoms we enjoy today. “I can proudly say that Wyoming has never forgotten any of our veterans.” 

Gordon read and signed the proclamation. Then Maj. Gen. Porter shared his thanks to the veterans and their families.

“In the military profession, particularly in the United States military, we have the tradition that we bring each other along, that those serving now reach out their hands and they bring those that will serve, knowing someday they will assume the mantle and responsibility of protecting this nation. And to tell you thank you is an exceptional privilege,” Porter said.

Reflecting on his own experiences, he recalled how Vietnam veterans helped him during his early days in the military. “I can remember when I was a young private, the Vietnam veterans that were in our formations, and how we looked up to all of you because you had been there and done that.

“You told us how to tie our boots to make sure our feet wouldn’t give blisters,” he said. “You told us how to tune our weapons to ensure they operated, even when we were dog tired and would rather do something else. You taught us how to make a gourmet meal from c-rations and not to trade your pound cake for anything.”

“That’s our tradition. That’s what we do.” Porter said. “I am very privileged to be here today to reach out to all of you and tell you thank you for doing that.”

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso was unable to attend and field representatives shared his letter.

“It is a privilege to recognize you for your service to Wyoming and the United States of America,” Barrasso writes. “This day would not be complete without remembering active duty service members as well as the families that are with us today, with the families across Wyoming. I share my deepest appreciation for those who have or are currently serving in our Armed Forces.”

All Wyoming veterans, especially those from the Korean and Vietnam War and other veterans who were not properly thanked upon their return home, received gratitude from Wyoming leaders and members of a grateful state.  Commissioners, civic leaders, military and family members rallied together to share their thanks.

Kenneth Persson shared his experience when service and war were not popular. When you traveled on orders, you were told not to wear your uniform. When he returned from a three-and-a-half-year tour to Germany, his family was met by protesters.

“My wife and son were with me, and he was spit on,” he said. 

“Our Soldiers come and go without so much as a nod. It is like they are invisible. No one who served deserves to be ignored. Regardless of where you served or when you served, your service must be honored. On behalf of the Wyoming Veterans Commission, thank you and welcome home.” 

240323 Wyoming Governor welcomes home veterans across the state