MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD)- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is set to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the day the last U.S. troops combat troops left Vietnam next month.

In recognition of their service, Vietnam War veterans will be offered free admission for themselves and their immediate families on March 29 which is Vietnam Veterans Day.

Patriots Point will host a ceremony at 11:00 a.m. inside the Vietnam Experience exhibit to memorialize the nearly 900 South Carolinians who did not survive the war.

“We must do everything we can to honor the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while fighting in Vietnam,” Patriots Point Interim Executive Director Mac Burdette said. “We must also extend a hand and welcome home the men and women who survived. Fifty years later, it is more important than ever to remember our Vietnam Veterans and thank them for their service.”

Then at 7:00 p.m., a program will be offered aboard the USS Yorktown to honor the life and legacy of Lucy Caldwell, an United Service Organization (USO) volunteer who moved to Saigon to support service members in the war.

One Marine’s daughter, Tara McClary Reeves, reflects on how she learned about Caldwell’s story and why she is working to ensure it and others are told:

“I first learned of Lucy through being shown one of her letters. On March 3, 1968, my father’s reconnaissance team was hit. Daddy, 1st Lt. Clebe McClary, was medevacked to a field hospital where decorated USMC General Lewis William Walt had assigned compassionate Lucy. Since Daddy’s head was completely bandaged, he never saw her there. However, he still speaks of Lucy’s kindness and how she gently coaxed him to communicate to his bride of only 11 months and 23 days, the woman who’d become my mother. I’m honored to be able to tell Lucy’s story that showcases her unselfish devotion to those who courageously fought in Vietnam.”

Tara McClary Reeves

The Caldwell program is free but reservations are required to attend.

In addition to the programs and free admission, Patriots Point staff will identify veterans throughout the day and give them Department of Defense Vietnam War Veterans lapel pins.