Veterans

April 4, 2012

Vietnam veterans welcomed home – finally

Tags:
by Sharilyn Wells
Army News
Army photograph by Sharilyn Wells
A Vietnam veteran wipes tears from his eyes at the Vietnam Veterans Homecoming celebration March 31, 2012, at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., as he listens to Charlie Daniels' rendition of "Pray for Bobby." The event drew more than 60,000 veterans, family members and friends.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Friends were reunited; stories were told, and memories were honored on a day that many Vietnam veterans never thought they’d see – a day set aside specially for them to be properly welcomed home – almost 40 years later.

“It was hell over there,” James ‘Quincy’ Collins, retired Air Force colonel and former prisoner of war, told the crowd. “And it was even worse when we came home to a nation who didn’t appreciate us or what we did over there. Spending more than seven years as a prisoner of war I truly know what freedom is really about. And today is a day for us.”

The Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration in Charlotte, N.C., drew more than 60,000 veterans, family members and friends to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, March 31. The event was sponsored by the raceway, the N.C. Association of Broadcasters and the USO of North Carolina. According to John Falkenbury, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and president of the USO-North Carolina, the event served three purposes.

“The first, is to celebrate and you’re going to rock and roll this afternoon,” Falkenbury said to the crowd. “Second, it’s about assisting all veterans. We have the Veterans Affairs here and numerous VA non-profits here to help you out. And third is to educate our youngsters. There are Vietnam placards and veterans everywhere – talk to them, learn from history.”

Along with all the vendors lending out a helping hand, the event also hosted entertainers, country music artists, Rockie Lynne and Charlie Daniels, as well as George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics. There were performances by the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus, the Golden Knights and the Ranger Veterans Parachute Team, while Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 18th Fires Brigade, 11th Quartermaster Company, showcased modern-day military weapons and equipment in static displays. But for most, the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was the highlight of the event.

“He was only 19 years old when he was killed,” explained Mike McCarthy, a Navy veteran. “My big brother was a lance corporal in the Marine Corps and was killed in action, May 16, 1967.”

McCarthy, with his wife, Terrie, posed for a photo while standing in front of the wall memorial holding a photo of his brother, Whilton McCarthy.

“You know, my other brother was a Marine too,” said McCarthy. “My momma got a little nervous and when I said I wanted to join (the military) she told me to go Navy.”

“We also have two babies in the service,” Terrie proudly said. “My daughter is in the Navy and has served three tours to Iraq, and my son is a Marine. It’s absolutely amazing what they’re doing for all of these guys, absolutely amazing.”

For former Sgt. Charles Smith, 25th Signal Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, the memorial wall gave him closure and a chance to properly say goodbye to a friend.

“He was a private back then, John Peacock. We went to basic training together. He … he never came back. The last time I saw him was when we were shipped off. It’s an honor to have served with him and others, and an honor to be here with them,” Smith said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced July 1 that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. Army Sgt. Joseph M. Snock Jr. of Apollo, Pennsylvania, was buried July 6, in Arlington National Cemetery. In...
 
 

VA expands disability benefits for AF personnel exposed to contaminated aircraft

The Department of Veterans Affairs June 18 published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part...
 
 

Soldier missing from World War II accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 16 that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.  U.S. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John W. Herb of Cleveland, Ohio, was buried June 18, in...
 

 

VA campaign encourages public to help raise PTSD awareness

As the country recognizes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA National Center for PTSD is inviting the public to participate in its “PTSD Awareness: June 2015” campaign, which began June 1. This year’s goal is to help more veterans, their families, caregivers and community members understand what PTSD is and know that there are...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn

U.S. paratroopers, WWII veterans pay homage to D-Day 71st anniversary

Army photograph by SSgt. Opal Vaughn U.S. Army veterans Cpl. George Shenkle, center right, of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, and Sgt. Isaac Phillips, center left, of the 4th Infantry Division, sa...
 
 

VA launches community-based employment service for homeless veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced June 10 a new employment program aimed at helping job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness, and those on the brink of homelessness, gain stable and long-term employment. The new program, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services, relies on Community Employment Coordinators who know their communities and can work with local employers to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>