FORT POLK — More than 43 years after the official end of the Vietnam War, the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk will honor the service of those warriors who answered their nation’s call with a Vietnam Veterans Welcome Ceremony Thursday at Fort Polk Army Airfield.

One can only imagine what veterans who served in Vietnam think when they see Soldiers return home today from battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq to throngs of cheering crowds and post-wide celebrations.

Unlike their predecessors who fought in World War II, when veterans of the war in Vietnam returned home after their year-long tour in the jungles of Southeast Asia, it was mostly piecemeal, no more than a handful at a time.

They were often ostracized, spit upon and labeled as “baby killers.” Today’s Warriors are featured in television commercials and honored at professional sporting events and other arenas where they are recognized as the heroes they are for answering their nation’s call to arms.

Thursday’s event is held at the 1st Battalion, 5th Aviation Regiment hangar on Polk Army Air Field. All veterans are invited to take part in the ceremony and Vietnam veterans are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. in bldg 4297 at Fort Polk Army Airfield for a meet and greet before moving to the ceremony. During the event, a special tribute toVietnam veterans will offer them the welcome home they never received.

Following the ceremony, the veterans are invited to dine at an Army dining facility, and visit the Fort Polk Museum and Tigerland Regimental room on their own.

For more information call 531-1392.