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Over 20 Vietnam Veterans to be honored Saturday for service in one of the nation's longest wars.

Friday was Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day
Tom Hutton and Jim Von Nessen share the items they brought back from Vietnam.
Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 29, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Over 20 Vietnam Veterans will be recognized for their service in one of the nation's longest wars in a ceremony on Saturday in Gardner, Kansas.

Two of those men to be honored are Jim Von Nessen and Tom Hutton.

Both served in Vietnam, with Von Nessen a Marine and Hutton served in the Army.

They still have memorabilia from their time in Vietnam.

Jim kept his helmet and boots, while Tom has a piece from a grenade.

"Basically, what you’re suppose to do is throw it like a football," Hutton said.

These items help them remember their service.

"It’s just ingrained in me now, and there’s no way, I can’t let it go," Hutton said.

Tom Hutton, Vietnam Army Veteran

Von Nessen was sent to Vietnam in 1968.

He returned in 1971 and remembers not getting any praise for his service.

"People were, um, not too happy with us," he said. "Veterans coming home and being 'baby killers' or whatever it was at the time."

He said he rarely talks about his time in the Marines, unless it's with his fellow veterans.

When people now thank him for his service, he doesn't know how to answer it.

"What do you say? 'Oh, it was my pleasure." Von Nessen said. "That’s the wrong word, so I’m like, 'It was my honor to serve my country."

Jim Von Nessen, Vietnam Marines Veteran

Hutton served in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971.

He doesn't consider what he did heroic, but he's excited to stand by fellow veterans Saturday who deserve praise.

"I’m no hero, but I walked with a lot of them," he said. "You’re glad to see the other guys get the recognition. It’s nice to get it too, but you’re always glad to see your buddy get the recognition they should get."

Both Hutton and Von Nessen take a lot of pride in their service to the country, and for them, that's why it's important to remember.

"It’s knowing we’re doing good somewhere for somebody," Von Nessen said. "We gotta, we gotta take care of our own."

Saturday's ceremony takes place at Gardner Grange Hall at the Johnson County Fairgrounds at 2 p.m. The veterans will receive a pin, a proclamation from President Biden and a certificate.