FOXBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - The New England Patriots helped deliver a salute to service at Gillette Stadium Wednesday, hosting 100 Vietnam veterans for a ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the day the last American troops left Vietnam in 1973.

The Patriots presented each veteran with a special commemorative pin, marking a special day of remembrance at Patriot Place. 

“It’s a lifetime ago,” Veteran Bill Blaisdell said of his experience. “But it remains in my memory to this day.”

The Patriots organization and owner Robert Kraft joined with the Commemorative Partner Program established by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service. 

“We always say, without their sacrifice and their commitment, we can’t tailgate in the parking lots on Sundays,” Kraft Family Philanthropies President Joshua Kraft said. 

Some of the veterans in attendance at Wednesday’s event said their memories of the Vietnam War remain extremely vivid. 

Current and former Patriots players like Andre Tippett and Cole Strange were also on hand at the event to pay their respect to the veterans who bravely served the U.S. 

“I know every veteran in the audience today couldn’t be more thrilled to be welcomed home appropriately,” Blaisdell said.

Speaking on Wednesday, organizers said that, while they are eager to honor veterans on such a powerful anniversary, the country’s military veterans should be celebrated year round.

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