EAST GRANBY - It has been 50 years since the first American boots hit the ground in Southeast Asia for the Vietnam conflict.
This weekend at the Air National Guard base in East Granby, some special events were held to honor and remember those who served.
The events were open to the public this weekend for free, so the younger generation could get a look at the Vietnam War, and veterans could gather to connect and share stories.
Kgell Tollefsen has a few.
"No you didn’t think you were going to die," he said. "Not that you weren’t nervous about it occasionally, but you tried not to think of it."
As a pilot of a Huey, Tollefsen was shot down three times.
"But who is counting?" he asked. "I walked away from each one."
Anyone who served in combat back then probably flew in a Huey at least once but Tom Pandolfi didn't. He was in Special Operations and flew to Southeast Asia on a C-130. Then he spent the rest of his time in-country on his feet, humping it through the jungle for 27 months.
"Never been camping since," he said. "I only camp at Mariott or Holiday Inn."
In the 60s and 70s, those who served in Vietnam often didn't get a warm welcome back home.
The purpose of this event was to show the Vietnam vets the respect they deserve, even if it's a few decades after the fact.