GREEN BAY - Most Vietnam War Veterans would agree, LZ Lambeau provided abetter welcome home than when they first returned from the war.
“I spent my first night as a civilian in the jail inSeattle when I got in a fist fight with a protestor,” saidRick Mikl of New Auburn when recalling his return after serving inVietnam.
Mikl says times have changed and was happy he didn’t seeany protestors this weekend at Lambeau Field.
“They just appreciate the fact that Vietnam Veterans arefinally being acknowledged for what they've done for ourcountry,” said Kathy Bissen who helped organize LZ Lambeau asthe director of production at Wisconsin Public Television.
LZ Lambeau organizers say the weekend's events were a hugesuccess. Talking to veterans, for the most part, they wouldagree.
“It was a good connection,” said Mike Casey, aVietnam Veteran from Bloomington. “Good camaraderie.Brotherhood. I really enjoyed it.”
One thing the veterans say they didn't find welcoming were costsat the event. Some we spoke with complained about prices forparking, food and beer.
“The vets that came back from World War II supposedly hada ticker tape parade in New York City,” said Mikl. “I'msure they didn't pay for anything.”
“If the whole idea was to be for the Vets, it just kind ofticks me off that everything's got to be a profit center,”said Geno Wheaton, a Vietnam Veteran who lives in Green Bay.
LZ Lambeau was entirely privately funded and organizers say itwill be lucky to break even. Organizers say they tried to do allthey could for the Veterans, including negotiating down the foodand beverage prices with Lambeau Field's vendors.
Overall the veterans say the welcome home was long overdue, andthe best part was being able to get together with fellowveterans.
“It brings healing,” said Wheaton. “It helpsyou deal with your demons a little bit. We all have a burden that'sgoing to be on us forever. You just can't get away fromit.”
Final attendance figures still aren't in. Organizers tell usabout 30-thousand people attended last night's tribute ceremony inLambeau Field.
The cold caused some problems in the Fox Valley Friday.
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A Pearl Harbor survivor was given a special honor Friday morning at Green Bay East High School.
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Brown County sheriff’s officials are looking for the person who stole credit and debit cards from a vehicle parked at a Lambeau Field parking lot.
Due to the cold weather, Friday night’s Christmas parade in Shawano and Saturday's parade in Omro have been canceled.