Community members gathered at Innovation Park today to remember the thousands of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.  One local veteran said this ceremony represents the official ‘Welcome Home’ that so many Vietnam Veterans never got.    

A hero’s welcome.  Something Robert Booz said he and his unit never received when they returned home from the Vietnam War.

“The commander at the front shouted out with a bull horn to us, “Attention.  We suggest you do not wear your uniform when you cross this country because of the riots that are going on,”” said Booz.

Booz is a Penn State alum, and a United States Air Force Veteran.  He said seeing the names of people he served with is incredibly difficult.

“It brought back some horrible memories, and there is difficulty looking at that because it is so vivid in your mind,” said Booz.

Thousands of folks have visited the wall in the few days it was in Centre County.

“It was a great example of how a community can come together for a righteous cause, and to correct a wrong, and to celebrate and welcome these veterans and to say thank you to them,” said Representative Glenn Thompson.

Congressman Thompson said it was a privilege to be with the families in the community who were remembering their loved ones.

“This wall has the names of loved ones of this community.  It has the names of friends and family.  So it’s just and honor to be here,” said Thompson.

Booz  hopes this wall can be a source of healing.  He says the ceremony was a way to find closure and give these veterans the celebration they have long deserved.  

“We want to just bring it back and kind of close it out, and that they can take this with them in their memory and feel good about it and continue to move forward,” said Booz.

Congressman Thompson  also said that he plans on bringing one of the wreaths that was on display here in Centre County, back to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will lay it at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.