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Vietnam veteran and wife of nearly 50 years renew their vows in special Veterans Day event

Local Vietnam veteran and his wife renewed their wedding vows ahead of Veterans Day...and the ceremony was crashed by Santa! Too cute. (Denise Rosch | KSNV)

In a special "thank you" to our nation's veterans today, the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce sponsored free ceremonies for military couples.

The day-long event is called "Las Vegas Marries the Military" and many of the couples are renewing their vows, including one couple at the Ace of Hearts Chapel. They're celebrating a nearly 50-year commitment.

"I always liked him, even the first time I saw him, I knew he was the right man for me," said Sandra Lucero.

Lucero was just 16 years old when she met her future husband Arthur. On Friday, their two grandsons walked her down the aisle to renew their wedding vows.

Family and friends are calling their love an inspiration.

RELATED | A different hitch celebrated with 'Las Vegas Marries the Military' event

The ceremony was part of a special Veterans Day event, offering free weddings for 10 military couples.

Arthur Lucero, an Army veteran, was critically wounded by a grenade in Vietnam. Doctors did not expect him to live.

"I didn't ask her to wait because I didn't think that would be proper because I didn't think I was coming back," said Arthur.

The couple was nominated for the free ceremony by their granddaughter Andrea, who sent a video to the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce.

"They deserve the renewal before we lose one of them," she said in the video.

In the video, she also explained how last year, her grandparents' Pahrump home caught fire, nearly destroying everything they owned. And still, the couple remains strong, married for 47 years.

"The only time we're separated is when she goes to the stores," said Arthur.

Lynn Marie Goya, Clark County Clerk, says the wedding industry is big business for Las Vegas and that giving back to veterans will become an annual tradition.

"We issued over 81,000 wedding licenses last year," said Goya.

Along with the Luceros, another favorite story of hers this year was a couple married by proxy.

"The husband was overseas so his mother stood in during the ceremony so the bride got to kiss her mother-in-law instead of her husband," said Goya.

As for Sandra and Arthur, a piece of chewing gum was not enough to ruin "the kiss." It was hardly their first and nowhere near their last.

"Oh this is so awesome, I would never believe something like this would happen to us," said Arthur.

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