Operation LZ hosts homecoming for Vietnam veterans

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vetsFOREST CITY — North Iowa hosted a five-day thank-you event in August for Vietnam veterans.

 The Operation LZ tribute was held to give Vietnam veterans the long-overdue welcome home and the recognition many did not receive when they returned from the war, according to organizers.
 This year marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. More than 3 million men were called to fight, of whom 58,286 were casualties and 153,303 were wounded.

Many veterans were treated poorly upon their return and did not receive the thanks that veterans before them had, organizers said.

Operation LZ was created to honor veterans during the anniversary.

More than 300 volunteers helped make the event possible. Approximately 6,000 pre-registered to attend and, despite rainy conditions, approximately 20,000 attended.

Gov. Terry Branstad spoke during the opening ceremony at the WIT Rally Grounds in Forest City.

 Operation LZ included a traveling replica Vietnam Wall. Veterans from across the U.S. came to pay their respects.

The replica memorial was accompanied by some 500 motorcycles as it traveled to Forest City.

People waited alongside the interstate and highways with flags and signs to welcome the veterans.

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