CHIPPEWA VALLEY Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Today marks the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and local veterans gathered to mark the occasion. Veterans from across western Wisconsin met at the Eagle’s Club in Lake Hallie to catch up with one another and learn about resources for those struggling.

Guest speakers talked about their experiences after the Vietnam war. The Chippewa Valley Veterans Tribute Foundation also announced expansions it would be making this spring to the site at River Prairie Park in Altoona.

A member of the Chippewa Valley Vietnam Veterans Planning Committee explains why Vietnam vets still band together after 50 years.

“Vietnam vets had a difficult time when they first came back from Vietnam. Usually, you came back by yourself. Sometimes you were spat on. Sometimes you landed at the airport in the middle of a protest against the Vietnam war, with which that part’s just fine. And so, the Vietnam vets were kind of off to themselves a little bit.”

This is the 15th year that Chippewa Valley veterans have celebrated the end of the Vietnam war. This celebration outdates that of Vietnam Veterans Day itself, which began federally in 2012.