It has been about 50 years since the height of American involvement in Vietnam.

To commemorate the milestone, leaders like Michigan U.S Senator Gary Peters are distributing service pins to veterans from that era.

It is a way to thank them for their sacrifices. As an expression of gratitude he says is long overdue, on Friday Senator Peters hosted a ceremony for several dozen Vietnam era Veterans and their families.

“When they came home they did not receive the type of welcome they deserved for going into harm’s way,” says Senator Peters. “But I’m happy we had an opportunity to say “thank you” on behalf of a grateful nation.”

“It means a lot because I think the veterans of that era were disregarded and not thought of very much,” says U.S. Army veteran Ron Carpenter. “Now we are all being recognized.”

The ceremony Friday was in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. He was President when the last American was evacuated from Vietnam in 1975.

â–ºMake it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.

Have a news tip? Email, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.