Gallery: Vietnam Vet Parade

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been 50 years since the end of the Vietnam War. For the veterans, recognition is a long time coming.

Thousands of them were honored at the Minnesota State Fair Monday.

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Gary Osterkamp and Vaughn Stelmach just happened to sit next to each other at the fair.

“We’re like brothers. We just jump right back into what it was like,” Osterkamp said.

Osterkamp fought in the 4th infantry division in the jungles of Vietnam.

“I was scared all the time, 24/7,” he said.

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Osterkamp and others said the celebration and parade, meant a lot to them.

Dave Rist said he’s waiting a life time for this.

“I’ve never been in a homecoming parade before. It’s very emotional,” Rist said.

The Military Appreciation Day included a fly over in the “missing man” formation, to remember those who never made it home.

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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton was there as well thanking the soldiers for their service.