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Red Sox host historic Vietnam vets ceremony

Boston, Yankees join in to honor military members, families on 50th anniversary of war
MLB.com

BOSTON -- History was made at Fenway Park on Saturday before a single pitch was thrown.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, more than 1,000 veterans and family members were recognized prior to the Yankees-Red Sox game. According to Sox officials, the Vietnam recognition ceremony was the largest of its type to be held in the United States.

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BOSTON -- History was made at Fenway Park on Saturday before a single pitch was thrown.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, more than 1,000 veterans and family members were recognized prior to the Yankees-Red Sox game. According to Sox officials, the Vietnam recognition ceremony was the largest of its type to be held in the United States.

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"With such a significant milestone anniversary, we thought it was important to recognize the veterans who served during the Vietnam War," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. "The divisive nature of that conflict, coupled with the psychological issues they grappled with upon their return, made for an unwelcome homecoming for many of these service members. While we cannot erase the past, this is one small way we can pay tribute to their service and recognize the sacrifices they made for their country."

Tweet from @homebaseprogram: Welcome home to ALL #VietnamVeterans. It���s an honor to have had over 1,300 #Vietnam #Veterans on the field at @fenwaypark this afternoon pic.twitter.com/1BGUuo38FB

The ceremony was put together by Home Base, which is a partnership program between the Red Sox Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital, with the goal of "healing the invisible wounds for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families through world-class clinical care, wellness, education and research."

A moment of silence and the playing of the national anthem concluded the pregame ceremony, along with the flyover of four F-15 jets.

In the middle of the third inning, members of the sellout crowd -- along with Yankees and Red Sox players and coaches -- held out placards displaying the name of a veteran that they wished to honor.

Video: NYY@BOS: Players and fans salute veterans at Fenway

Earlier in the day, Home Base held its eighth annual "Run to Home Base" fundraiser at Fenway Park. An estimated 2,000-plus participants took part in the 9K run or 5K run/walk in order to raise money and awareness for the organization.

Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Boston Red Sox