York County embracing National Vietnam War Veterans Day roots

YORK, P.A. --- Thursday is the first anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

What some may not know about the day is its roots come from York County

"York County owns Vietnam War veterans day as far as I'm concerned. It's part now of the history of this county," said Vietnam War veteran Harold Redding.

Starting in 2015, Spring Grove resident Redding said he made phone calls, sent emails and attended meetings, trying to give fellow Vietnam War veterans recognition.

He said thanks to a breakthrough response from U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey at the end of 2016, legislation made it's way to President Donald Trump’s desk less than a year later

A day Redding long awaited was created: March 29 officially recognized as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

"I look at the calendar and I saw National Vietnam War Veterans Day and it was sort of the final it is done. That was it for some reason just to see that on a calendar as a day of observance for Vietnam vets," said Redding.

On Thursday, York County Veterans Affairs Terry Gendron will host a full day of events including a road dedication, recognition march to the Vietnam Memorial Statue at the York County Fairgrounds and a Purple Heart presentation.

"Vietnam War Veterans Day will be tied to York County in perpetuity thanks to the work of a York County veteran," said Gendron.

Joseph Bates from Lower Chanceford Township will receive the Purple Heart Thursday.

A helicopter crew chief during the Vietnam War, he received the recognition nearly 50 years ago the paperwork never came through.

This week it will be official.

"It's a little bit more than I was expecting as far as you guys and the ceremony and everything," said Bates.

He said it's been a long time coming for fellow Vietnam veterans to finally feel their welcome home.

"We didn't run around wearing our hats and all that stuff because all the protesting that was going on back then so it's kind of nice to see somebody finally recognizes us for what we did," said Bates.