NWA Veterans Honored in a Special Event

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Veterans of all wars were honored for their service at the 2nd annual Welcome Home Veterans’ picnic in Fayetteville.

The Singing Men of Arkansas sang patriotic melodies as well as modern tunes at the University of Arkansas' Pauline Whitaker Arena.

The event started by recognizing vets from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War, Iraq and Aghanistan. Chairman Pete Rathmell said he got the idea from watching a similar event in another part of the country.

“Why don’t we do something like that here in Northwest Arkansas?" Rathmell said.  "Especially for the Vietnam veterans, I’m a Vietnam veteran and when we came back 45 years ago, it wasn’t like coming back today."

Rathmell said the event gives veterans a chance to share stories. He said he remembers when one Vietnam veteran and Vietnamese woman met at this event last year.

"They were hugging each other crying and I asked somebody 'what’s that all about?' " Rathmell said. "It turned out she was a little girl in this village in Vietnam during the war and he was in the army and came through her village and liberated that village 40 something odd years ago and they just happen to meet here. I mean it was awesome, it really was."

The guest speaker was WWII Navy Veteran Admiral Luke McCollum.

There were also performances by the Ozark Highlanders and Bugles Across America.