2015-04-15 / Opinions

Welcome home to Vietnam vets

To the Editor:

It is 50 years since the last of our American troops came home from Vietnam. Now, 50 years later, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to those who served during the Vietnam era and we will be honoring them with a Welcome Home Celebration on April 25 at Holly Hill Mall in Knott County.

We will have informational displays, picture, handouts and refreshments beginning at noon. At 1:30 p.m., we will have a program with guest speakers, some of which will be our own Disabled American Veterans members who are Vietnam veterans and a few dignitaries. The real dignitaries for this occasion will of course be all those who served bravely in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and elsewhere in the southeast Asia warzone, as well as those who served on the homefront.

Knott County Disabled American Veterans Chapter 171 and Auxiliary Unit 171 will be hosting this event and we want to invite other DAV chapters, all veterans, their families and community member to join us as we honor these special veterans.

In the late 60s and early to mid 70s, service members returning from southeast Asia were all too often greeted with protest signs, defamatory chants, called names, spit on, thrown rocks at and worse. Thankfully, times have changed since then. Post 9/11 veterans no longer have to find the nearest restroom and change from their uniforms into civilian clothes as many Vietnam veterans were forced to do. I will never understand why these veterans were treated as if they were enemies by our own countrymen, but I am so grateful that things have changed and we now proudly welcome home the men and women who serve.

Join us, visit with the ones who were there to make a difference, exchange experiences and help us celebrate their service.

As we approach this 50th anniversary and long overdue welcome home, please keep in mind that “Freedom isn’t free” and if you love your freedom — thank a vet.

For more information, call Tom Mullins, (606) 642-3038. ALLIE KRONBERG, Historian DAV Chapter 171 Knott County

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