ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — A ceremony was held Friday in Ansonia to honor Vietnam War veterans on the 46th anniversary of the end of that war.
You could almost see tears in Ron Zimmerman’s eyes. He’s a proud veteran of the U.S. Marines Corps and was visibly touched watching a flag-raising ceremony outside Ansonia City Hall Friday. The POW-MIA flag along with the American and South Vietnamese flags was raised.
“I’m so proud they decided to fly the flag today,” he said.
On this date in 1975, the Vietnam War ended. It was a war that saw the loss of 58,000 American servicemembers — including nine military members from Ansonia — all part of the effort to help protect people in South Vietnam from the communist North.
The ceremony also meant to honor them because Ansonia currently has a large Vietnamese population.
“This is unity between our two countries,” said Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti. “The war — you had the South Vietnamese being the ally with the United States of America against the forces of North Vietnam who were communist and fed by Russia and China.”
Some members of Ansonia’s Vietnamese community were there to see the flag-raising ceremony and they were visibly moved, as well. News 8 spoke with a man named Cong.
“America is so beautiful!” he said. “The flag I carry on my shoulder.”
He says without America’s Vietnam veterans, his life could’ve ended up very differently. You could easily tell he’s glad it didn’t.
“I’m honored to be an American citizen!” he shouted.
Ron was honored that Vietnam veterans were saluted Friday. But, that wasn’t always the case. The war was unpopular here at home at the time. Many complained that it dragged on, lasting from Nov. 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975. And its veterans did not get a heroes’ welcome home, which still opens old wounds for Ron.
“They were being called ‘baby killers,'” he said. “They were being spit on. No — that’s not the way you treat a veteran.”
He hopes people driving by city hall will think of this when they see those flags.
“They all deserve our utmost respect,” he said.