'Emotional': Hundreds honor Vietnam veterans decades after war's end in Pottstown

For many Americans, everyday is Veterans Day but it hasn’t always been that way. Many who served during the Vietnam War period never received any support upon their return to U.S. soil following the war. 

On Saturday, those servicemen and servicewomen were finally honored in Pottstown for their service to the country as a part of the United Staates of America Vietnam war Commemoration program.

Even nearly 60 years later, the gratitude bestowed upon those veterans packed a powerful punch. Over 50 local veterans participated in the fourth annual Pottstown Veterans’ Community Day.

Four heroes in Pottstown were honored with awards, government gifts and commendations during the event. 

The Glass Tear Hero Awards were given to Navy veterans Dennis Elliot and Denise Harner and Army veterans William Quinley Jr. and Van D. Scott.

The awards were designed to honor veterans who returned home to become pillars of the local community.

Elliot called the honor from his hometown “emotional” and remarked that he “buried a lot of friends in Vietnam but I thank everybody who made this happen.”

“I feel unworthy,” Denise Harner told FOX 29’s Steve Keeley “There’s so many people in our community that do so much, so much. So, it’s an honor.”

“It’s overwhelming” William Quinley Jr. stated. “If people know me, I’m at a loss for words now and that never happens.”

With the way veterans are now being these days, those four heroes feel that their then overlooked service is being valued appropriately despite of the lapse in time. 

"It's so good that they respect the new veterans coming home more than we got," Quinley Jr. added before saying that this honor really matters. 

Proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit the Veterans' Island Project, which is a non-profit dedicated to maintaining and enhancing “the island” at Memorial Park in Pottstown.