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Bill honors Vietnam vets

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By Scott Wente

St. Paul Capitol Bureau

ST. PAUL -- Several lawmakers spoke emotionally about the impact of the Vietnam War before approving a bill Monday to recognize veterans from that conflict.

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Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, sponsored the measure designating March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day in Minnesota. Howes said it's time the state honors those veterans.

"Everyone knows the Vietnam War wasn't popular, but it wasn't conveyed to our veterans we appreciated what they did," he said.

The House passed the bill 130-0.

Rep. Dennis Ozment, R-Rosemount, told colleagues about people he knew who returned from Vietnam and were spat on, and one man who hid his Silver Star recognition from his children.

Ozment said creating a Vietnam Veterans Day shows that Minnesotans remember veterans' sacrifices many years later.

Rep. Doug Magnus, who said he is one of two Vietnam veterans in the House, favored the measure, saying it doesn't ask for much.

"It means a lot to us because we were there and went through it all," said Magnus, R-Slayton. "I think that's all that we could do as a chamber here and as a state for the folks that gave up a lot."

A companion bill authored by Sen. Dan Skogen, DFL-Hewitt, is moving through the Senate.

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