ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — All across America, when a member of the military returns home from battle, they face a familiar scene. Dozens of flag-waving people welcoming them home, eager to say “thank you for your service.” But for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who fought in the Vietnam War, their welcome home was anything but a celebration.

NEWS10 sat down with six local veterans of the Vietnam War to ask them about their experience fighting in a war most people didn’t want the United States to wage. “The living conditions were worse than being shot at,” said Terry Smith, who fought in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. “Every day you got up again, wore the same clothes, shaved out of your helmet, brush your teeth out of your helmet.”

They also spoke about their treatment when they arrived back home after nearly giving their lives for their country. “I came back by myself and got into the San Francisco airport, and somebody immediately proceeded to throw ketchup on my uniform,” said John Brownrigg, 1967-1972.

The veterans also did something none have ever done, visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. “I’m most looking forward to go to the wall and seeing my friends,” said Geb Wolf, 1969-1972

NEWS10’s Stephanie Rivas introduces us to these special veterans at the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post #1520.