DES MOINES, Iowa - John Sposeto is a Des Moines man and Vietnam War veteran who says he remembers when people didn't respect those who laid their lives on the line for the nation's freedom.
"I remember when the Vietnam War was over - I served during that time - and we didn't get much respect or honor or nothing back then," he said.
But Sposeto says times are different now, and the acknowledgement he receives each Veterans Day is truly appreciated.
"It's great that a lot of places are doing breakfasts' and lunches for us, that's really amazing that we're finally getting the...I don't know what you call it, but the respect, and recognition that we so long deserved for so many years," he said.
Governor Terry Branstad, who attended KOIA Radio's Radiothon at Prairie Meadows Wednesday, where a goal of $50,000 raised for the American Legion has been set, says he recalls the same sentiments back when he returned from Vietnam.
"It's just great to see all the people that are now respecting and appreciating our veterans. It wasn't that way in the Vietnam and Korea era," he said.
Not only has the attitude changed, but Governor Branstad says the Home Base Iowa initiative has transformed the state into a haven for veterans.
"We've really launched this Home Base Iowa. We now have 1,500 veterans hired in good jobs in Iowa. Our colleges and universities are offering in-state tuition to all veterans, their spouses, and their dependents," he said. "We also have a home-buyer tax credit for veterans. And our goal is to become the most veteran-friendly state we can be."
Perhaps Senator Chuck Grassley said it best at a ceremony at the Veterans Community Choice Convention Center.
"Those people willing to put their lives on the line, the freedom that we take for granted, would have long ago disappeared; our commitment to liberty should not waver, therefore neither should our commitment to those who have defended it," he said.
On this Veterans Day, those like Sposeto are proud to have fought for America, and proud of the new generation it's producing.
"I go to the stores and stuff, I've got little kids walking up to me and saying, 'Thank you for your service,' and stuff," he said. "I wear my hat and stuff. And that's really great that the parents are teaching their kids to show respect and honor the veterans that did serve."