IRON MOUNTAIN — Two organizations came together in honor of Upper Peninsula Veterans today. Our local veterans make up some of the more than nine million veterans who served during the Vietnam Era. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac was in Gladstone and Iron Mountain today and she brings us more from the ceremonies.

It was an emotional day in Gladstone and Iron Mountain as veterans came together with their friends and family for the 50th Vietnam War Commemoration.

Officials from the Veterans Center in Escanaba and the Oscar J. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain held ceremonies in their respective areas Tuesday morning to honor Vietnam combat veterans and Vietnam era veterans. The programs included speeches from veterans– some sharing memories from the past, others looking towards the future, each an emotional experience.

Veteran Joe Stevens said to the crowd in Iron Mountain, “Brad asked me to speak, I absolutely said no. I wasn’t interested, didn’t want to, pretty emotional, I’ve done that before didn’t want to do it again. It’s not easy to talk about this, but I think there’s a message after 50 years we have where we’re honoring, and it says it the best right here, ‘a grateful nation thanks and honors you.'”

In the midst of socializing in Gladstone, Mike King said, “Well today just look around the room. When you get this many Vietnam veterans and Vietnam era veterans it’s a pleasure. It’s fantastic.”

Each event held a pin ceremony honoring vets for their service. King said at the end of the day he hoped young and old vets could connect, and be there for one another.

For more information about the Vets Center click here.

For more information about the Oscar J. Johnson VA Medical Center click here.