WARM SPRINGS, GA (WTVM) - Better late than never. It was a belated welcome home for thousands of troops that served in the Vietnam War.
From 1955 to 1975, thousands of soldiers sacrificed for their country and on Thursday, many of them were honored.
Fifty years later after the Vietnam War, many of those vets were publicly recognized for their service at the Roosevelt Institute in Warm Springs, GA.
Some say this welcome home should have happened years ago.
"This is the first time I feel like we've been honored since we been back," said Jimmy Milling, who served in Vietnam in 1970 through 1971 with the 101st Airborne Infantry.
Milling is part of a group of veterans being honored for their service and dedication during the Vietnam War era.
"It was an experience that I would never forget. I lost a lot of friends that you meet real quick and you get real close to them. Then all of a sudden they gone," said Milling
With their families and friends watching, the veterans were presented with a Department of Defense lapel pin and a certificate of honor signed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
"We partnered with the Governor and we have a certificate of honor program. There are 754,000 veterans here in Georgia and of those 234,000 are Vietnam veterans," said Commissioner Mike Roby with the Georgia Department of Veteran Services.
"It's great that he recognizes this as a need. That these vets are not forgotten and making sure that doesn't happen, that says a lot for our governor and his leadership," said Ben Eubanks, Vice Commander of Post 88 in Manchester.
Since Governor Deal signed the proclamation in March 2015, there have been more than 130 ceremonies commemorating Vietnam vets in Georgia and more than 10,000 certificates and 8,000 pins have been given out.
Congressman Lynn Westmoreland presented congressional coins to the veterans.
The ceremony was hosted by The American Legion Post 88 in Manchester, GA.