“I'm glad it's happening,” he said. “It gives me a little bit of closure.”
Lawton resident J.C. Humphries, 70, did two tours in Vietnam with the Army and finished his service in 1969.
He has been to welcome home ceremonies for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan — something he takes great satisfaction in.
“This is awful late, but I'll take it,” he said. “To me when we welcome them back from Afghanistan and Iraq, that feels like my homecoming.”
The stands in the Rinehart Fitness Center were filled with active-duty soldiers, many in the early stages of their military careers.
They provided a rousing welcome as the veterans marched into the building, many wearing hats or shirts emblazoned with the names and numbers of their former units.
Active-duty Pfc. Hannah Delfs, of Ohio, was on hand to greet them.
She purchased flowers to hand out to as many veterans as she could.
She was overcome with emotion during the ceremony.
“I felt like I needed to make up for what other people didn't do when these men and women came home,” she said.
“A lot of them came back and were treated like outcasts. They were doing their job. They were serving their country.”