It's been almost 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War, but for veterans who returned home to Ohio, something has always been missing.
On Tuesday, for the first time, Ohio is officially honoring veterans of the Vietnam War in a week of thanks for their service.
Veterans gathered at the Ohio History Center on Tuesday to remember those who were lost.
"My country was at war, and I wanted to participate," said veteran Roger Ansel.
Ansel, along with hundreds of others, reflected on the names listed on the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on display this week for Vietnam Veterans Day. They celebrated for the first time, thanks to a new Ohio law.
"There's just certain things, I'll hear the rain and it reminds me that's the kind of rain we had in Vietnam," Ansel said.
Veterans swapped stories about events some hadn't spoken of in years.
"I come home to Washington state, changed into civilian clothes, come back on the family farm and didn't even talk about Vietnam," said veteran Chuck Keller. "So, it's good that you come back and get to talk to veterans."
More than anything, the veterans said they appreciated finally being welcomed and thanked for their service.
"This is just awesome," said Denny Remeta. "Unbelievable that we finally get some sort of closure on being American soldiers."
A week of events commemorates the day's first observance, including the display of a traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall replica. The replica goes on display Tuesday at the Ohio History Center in Columbus after an opening ceremony.
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