Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vietnam Vets Spat On By Civilians

[In the week leading up to Memorial Day there have been many articles that tell of Vietnam vets being spat on by civilians.]

WISH-TV [Indianapolis, IN]
17 May 2008

Local Vietnam veterans get a proper welcome home ceremony

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Hundreds of Vietnam veterans got a proper welcome home ceremony Saturday. It was the first ceremony in the city recognizing the vets for their service. Many Vietnam veterans said a homecoming party is 40 years overdue, but they are happy that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

All over the country when soldiers are returning from the war they are welcomed by friends and family who are often holding welcome signs and holding back tears. The Patriot Guard Riders are a familiar sight making sure no one disrupts the sweet reunion. But those that they welcomed home Saturday weren't welcomed home 40 years ago.

"I felt like I landed in the wrong country. I landed in Fort Dix, New Jersey. People were spitting at me, protesting, calling me a baby killer," said Gary Hines, Vietnam Veteran, U.S. Army. [...]

Midland Reporter-Telegram [Texas]
17 May 2008

Veterans find healing in cross-country motorcycle ride

By Kathleen Thurber
Staff Writer

ODESSA -- When Chuck Bellew veered off Interstate 20 Friday evening he nearly hit the motorcycle in front of him he was so overwhelmed.

After getting spit on when he walked around in uniform during the Vietnam-era, the site of roadways lined with flags and citizens waving and saying thank you is something he said he'll never get used to.

"It's an emotional roller coaster and it's definitely a healing process," said Bellew, who rode in from Phoenix with his friend of more than 40 years and fellow veteran Ike Ikerd.

The two are part of the 20th annual Run for the Wall and have joined more than 300 others who will be driving through the southern part of the U.S. before meeting another 400 or more bikers in Arlington, Va.

Together, the group will ride to "the wall" or the portion of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington with names of soldiers who died in the war. [...]

Portsmouth Herald News [NH]
18 May 2008

Vietnam veteran helps others suffering post-traumatic stress
Veteran reaches out so others' suffering isn't done in silence

By Deborah McDermott

ELIOT, Maine - For more than 30 years, Don Lonsway thought he was crazy.

He'd be driving, for instance, when without warning he'd have a panic attack, start sweating profusely, and feel his heart race. Mornings, he'd wake up from a nightmare-filled sleep to sheets like a "rat's nest" and soaked through. He'd go home many nights with a half-gallon of cheap whiskey and drink it until he passed out.

Vietnam War veteran Don Lonsway will speak about his experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, at Eliot United Methodist Church, Route 236. [...]

His homecoming - after 366 days, he says quickly, even today recalling the precise number - seemed practically scripted from the era.

"I was at O'Hare Field in Chicago and I had a three-hour layover. I was in dress uniform. I remembered the pictures of soldiers in World War I and World War II, how warmly they were greeted, and I couldn't wait to go home.

"Then I saw some college students. They called me 'baby killer' and one of them spit on my uniform. I took a deep breath and went into the men's room and bawled my eyes out and stayed there till I got on my flight. When I got to Logan, I immediately bought a shirt and a pair of pants in the airport and balled up my uniform." [...]

Indianapolis Star [IN]
18 May 2008

Veterans' welcome was long time coming

By Cordell Eddings

Charles Hahn was one of the Vietnam War soldiers who returned home to war protests and criticism.

"They warned us, but I just turned 21. I don't think any of us were ready for that," said Hahn, 61, Nineveh.

For many veterans, there were no welcome-home parades or other celebrations. Hahn, instead, remembers getting off a plane in Chicago after spending two years in Vietnam and being spat upon by a woman protesting the unpopular war.

On Saturday, organizers of Indianapolis' first Welcome Home celebration for Vietnam War veterans hoped it wasn't too late to make amends.

Hahn was one of hundreds of Vietnam War veterans, their family members and other supporters who filled the auditorium of the Indiana War Memorial for the welcoming celebration -- a recognition that many veterans felt was long overdue. [...]

Gaston Gazette [NC]
24 May 2008

Memories of war lost on all but the Marine who lived them

Michael Barrett

LINCOLNTON - Lance Cpl. Robert Hull has no military uniform to represent the two years he fought in the Vietnam War. But he remembers bullets tearing through the uniforms of friends on the battlefield. [...]

Like so many Vietnam veterans, Hull was given anything but a heroic welcome home 39 years ago.

"People are calling you child murderers, spitting in your face and all that," he said. "People back then didn't want you. And then, all of a sudden, your government turns against you." [...]

WSBT-TV [South Bend, IN]
24 May 2008

Flags From the Heart on Display in Elkhart

by Tristan Henry

"I guess I'm just as patriotic as the next guy." Brian Thomas is showing his patriotism by helping others honor their loved ones. He created the Flags From the Heart project.

It's a display of admiration that now sits near the Civic Plaza in downtown Elkhart.

Bill Addison served in World War II and received a much different welcome home than his son who served in Vietnam.

"When he came home they spit on his uniform, civilians did," said Addison. [...]

Daily Record [NJ]
26 May 2008

Cedar Knolls ex-Marine not yet done with battles

By Michael Daigle

[...] [Henry] Broxmeier, of Cedar Knolls, is one of the U.S. service veterans who will be honored by Morris County on Friday during the county's annual Memorial Day ceremony. [...]

The war for Broxmeier is a collage of events and sounds and sights: [...] Walking down the aisle of the plane carrying him from California to the East Coast after the end of his time in Vietnam and being spit on by another passenger. [...]

American-Statesman [Austin, Texas]
26 May 2008

Hundreds of flags for veterans at Southwest Austin cemetery

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8925 has been planting flags at graves since the 1960s.

By Patrick George

[...] Roger Gaby, 70, remembers getting spat on in California after doing two tours in Vietnam and suffering shrapnel wounds there. [...],4_1_JO27_MEMORIAL_S1.article

Herald News [Joliet, IL]
27 May 2008

Cemetery ceremony honors military vets


[...] Ronald Juvingo, of Oswego, still has bitter feelings on how he was treated when he returned home after serving four years with the U.S. Air Force during Vietnam War.

He was spit on and called a "baby killer." The Vietnam soldiers would strap explosives onto small children who would then walk up to U.S. soldiers, killing them and themselves. Juvingo said if soldiers didn't shoot the child they would all be dead, and that's how the term "baby killer" originated. [...]