A modest but patriotic crowd turned out at Macclenny’s Heritage Park at midday on April 21 for the second annual Korean and Vietnam veteran appreciation day.
With the theme, “Freedom is not Free,” the program organized by Jessie and Karl Joyce included speeches by veterans of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, a special tribute to the missing in action and other recognitions.
Mrs. Joyce planned to have just the single event last year, but public demand led to the second annual tribute in 2012. “And I enjoy doing it,” she said.
Mrs. Joyce got the idea for the first tribute after a visit to Jacksonville International Airprot to welcome home returning vets.
“We would go to the airport and greet them and wave flags,” she said.
But it made her remember how Vietnam and Korean War veterans were not greeted in the the same way.
“They were never welcomed home,” she said. “They were spit on when they came home.”