40 Years Later: A Valley Vietnam Veteran Looks Back

Friday marked forty years to the day United States forces ended their direct military involvement in Vietnam.

On March 29, 1973, the last American forces withdrew from South Vietnam.

Two years later Saigon would fall to Communist forces, marking the official end of the war.

On Friday, several veterans from the Valley looked back on the time they served overseas.

Tom Stroop, who lives in Broadway, said he was 21 years old when he was drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam.

When he first set foot in the country, he said it was tough to understand what the purpose was for the conflict.

When he came home after serving in the military, Stroop said many people weren't paying attention to the war.

Many of his fellow veterans came back and were criticized.

Stroop said some were even spat at.

Forty years later, Stroop says Americans should take the time to say 'Thank you' to the men and women who served.

"For all the troops that were over there, stand up and give them praise. Give them a little praise for what they did and don't give them a cold shoulder," said Stroop, who was wearing a Vietnam veteran cap. "Put this cap on, walk in somewhere, see if everyone doesn't stop and look, and then say 'Thank you'. That's what makes you feel good. I'll bet you can ask any other vet. He'll tell you the same thing."

Stroop says important lessons were learned during the Vietnam War and forty years later, Americans shouldn't forget the sacrifices that were made.

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