Honoring veterans at LZ Lambeau - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Honoring veterans at LZ Lambeau


GREEN BAY (WKOW) -- A special event at Lambeau Field had one message for Wisconsin veterans of the Vietnam War, thank you.

Thousands of vets came to Green Bay for LZ Lambeau, which is dedicated to the men and women who served in Vietnam, and is their official welcome home.

One feature was the Traveling Wall. It's a half sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. On it are the names of the more than 58,000 soldiers killed in Vietnam, that includes about around 1,200 from Wisconsin.

Many left gifts. Greg Butteris dropped off a letter for a friend, an etching of his name from the wall in D.C.

"I am bringing this to him, and the original I am keeping for his family," Butteris said.

Inside Lambeau's Atrium, a make shift Vietnam Museum. People watched Vietnam videos, looked at Vietnam pictures and talked about Vietnam.

Adam Urban says that's something new for his uncle.

"He wouldn't talk about it much.. He talked about some of the fun things but not about what happened there, but now he is starting to crack open a little bit," Urban said

Vietnam vet Greg Urban happily shared pictures he took years ago in Vietnam, pictures that were locked away until just recently.

"We get to relive memories, and be with people maybe we didn't know, but share our hearts," he said.

Also at LZ Lambeau, a giant map of Southeast Asia. Veterans searched for the cities they served in, and signed their names. Some even left personal messages like 'We're not in Kansas Anymore.'

Melvin Green said it brought back memories of what he and other vets had to do in Vietnam, but mostly, how they were treated when they got back.

"We got nothing, we were dirt, no one wanted to accept us at all, we only got immediate family, and that still eats at us that have been there," Green said.

Which was the whole point of LZ Lambeau. Saturday night, a special ceremony was held. 20,000 people flooded the stadium stands. They watched special presentations, tributes, and live music.

Governor Doyle was one of the speakers, in told the veterans, on behalf of the state of Wisconsin, welcome home.

Hundreds of Wisconsin National Guardsmen gathered on the field following Doyle and saluted the veterans in the stands.

Veteran Mike Lang was in the audience, he said that he brought a lot of emotional baggage with him to LZ Lambeau.

"This is the welcome home we never had, so we carried all these burdens all these years and friends we've lost. If I can leave them here, I'd be glad," Lang said.

LZ Lambeau continues Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

For a rundown of events, click here.


GREEN BAY (WKOW) – Lambeau Field is full Friday night and they're not rooting for the Pack. Thousands of Vietnam veterans are at Lambeau for a weekend of thank you's.

It's called LZ Lambeau.

More than 1,000 bikers took part in an honor ride on their way to the event.

Groups from Madison, La Crosse and Milwaukee made the journey to the Fox Cities Stadium, where they met up for the last leg of the journey.

Many of the riders served in Vietnam. They say the welcome they received at LZ Lambeau was particularly special.

"Vets are unique, I think, in a certain way, because when we went over, we went over as individuals and when we came home, we came home as individuals and we never really got an opportunity to do this," says Vietnam veteran Al Hagen.

Organizers say turnout for the ride was only about half of what was expected, likely due to the weather. But they say it made the honor ride a little more manageable.

LZ Lambeau organizers are using the event as a teaching moment, as well.

1,600 students from middle and high schools across northeast Wisconsin visited the moving wall at the event.

Many of the students had family members who fought in the war.

Vietnam vets actually lead the tours.. answering questions and sharing their stories.

"For the students, it's very important because a lot of material is not in the textbooks," says Vietnam vet Steve Conto. "And what greater textbook is actually right here, seeing the names, talking about it... becomes living history."

The exhibit includes a giant walking map of Vietnam so students can see where the battles were fought. And they get to see the military vehicles and tents our troops used during the war.

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