"To all the veterans here today. To all the veterans that are with us today. Welcome Home."
That's how Vietnam War Veteran Bruce Thiemann opened his remarks at American Mausoleum on Allen Road during a service to honor Peoria County's fallen.
He says more than 3,000 Peoria County men fought in the Vietnam War.
"And at least 45 returned only in spirit. Two of those 45 have never returned, except in spirit, because their remains remain in South Vietnam."
Thiemann went on to tell of the sacrifice of a man with a last name familiar to Peorians, Harold Alwan.
Alwan graduated from Manual High School and The University of Notre Dame before joining The Marine Corps.
"Harold Alwan, with a rank of Lt. Colonel, probably didn't have to be flying but he was and he was shot down."
Alwan was shot down over Quang Tin province in 1967 and is still listed as MIA.
"Harold Alwan represents in a tangible way, the sacrifice and commitment by Peoria County to the people of South Vietnam to preserve freedom."
Thiemann graduated from Woodruff High School before serving as a helicopter door gunner during the Vietnam War. He used the GI Bill to continue his education at Southern Illinois University. Theimann is now a local attorney.
The service ended with the Presentation of Colors and 21 Gun Salute by The American Legion Post 979 from Bartonville.