48 years later, grandkids honor Vietnam Veteran

Veteran Romeo's family honored his service by decorating his home

A Harlingen Vietnam Veteran got quite a surprise from his family.

Ricardo Romero found the outside of his house, cars and trees decorated patriotically and with messages of gratitude.

Ricardo Romero was suspicious of the silence last night.

In his house were some of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren but they were very quiet.

After awhile, his children came looking for him and told him to cover his eyes and go outside.

When he opened his eyes, he saw everything his family did for him.

A tribute honoring his service 48 years ago.

Neither his wife of 50 years, Maria Romero, or him could hold the tears.

That TMs when I really knew, in their own way, they really appreciate what I did even though they were small when it happened, they appreciate, Romero said

It was a completely different scene than the one soldiers would come home to when they returned from Vietnam.

Romero joined the war in 1962.

Three years later, he was sent to Vietnam, leaving his wife and two-month-old baby behind.

He served in the division one infantry for eight months.

When he returned, it wasn't the warm welcome we see soldiers now a day receiving.

Romero, like many other Vietnam soldiers, were forced to return to his home during the night and wouldn't speak about the war.

Since he said, Vietnam soldiers were called "baby and woman killers."

"It was rough when I got home, it was rough, we didn't talk about it, Romero said. I have never had anybody tell me thank you for being in Vietnam until now."

However times have changed.

Romero said that he is constantly thanked for his service by people of all ages.

That goes back to their parents, they TMre teaching them to respect and honor our soldiers whoever they may be, Romero said. That makes me feel good when young people come and thank me.

Romero said that he taught his family (his seven children, 31 grand children and six great-grandchildren) the importance of respecting and honoring soldiers.

Most importantly thanking them for their service.

Vietnam has been known as the forgotten war, Romero said. Our family will never forget or the rest of the Vietnam soldiers.

Romero said that the biggest change between the Vietnam War and the present war is the gratitude they have towards soldiers.