Local Vietnam veterans are getting the warm welcome home they always wanted.
The American Legion in Harrison was packed full of men and women who served our country.
They laughed together, shared stories and also raised money for the families of veterans in need.
You could hardly hear over all of the veterans as they celebrated each other, and opened up about their times at war.
"Helping our veterans and trying to get through life the easiest way they can," said Joseph Brato.
Beyond the music and dancing comes the sound of sacrifice.
"It was hard but rewarding. If you had to put it in words," Ken Spiegel said.
Each veteran here has their own story to tell, like Ken Spiegel who served in Vietnam.
"Being the smallest guy in the Marine Corps, it was tough because you had to compete. Everyone was two to three inches taller and outweighed me 30 to 50 pounds," he said.
Eventually Ken learned…
"It’s not a matter of strength it’s a matter of will," he said.
Using size to his advantage. In some ways Ken could do things 6-foot tall Marines couldn’t.
"Like going over walls and things. I was lighter. And I had enough arm strength that with my spring I was gone. 8 foot walls easy," he said.
But pinned on Ken’s chest. you’ll see a purple heart.
"That’s how I got out of the Marine Corps, because they had to discharge me. Bullet went through my left elbow and came out the back," Ken said.
Nearly a decade later, Ken returned. This time in the Army, where he would spend the next 16 years. Ken’s journey, forever proving that height isn’t a measure of heart.
"They just look up to you, ya know? Just like some of these people here they’ve made the statement to me that I may be 5 foot 3 but I’m 7 foot 4."
All of the money raised at Thursday’s welcome home goes to helping veterans in need.
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