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.


 
 

 

Headlines July 25, 2014

News: VA reform bills stalled by partisan bickering - Plans for a comprehensive Veterans Affairs Department reform bill that appeared all but finished a month ago devolved into partisan bickering and funding fights July 24, casting doubt on the future of a deal.   Business: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed announce bids on Danish fighter competition; Saab withdraws -...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Marines investigate corporal who vanished in Iraq U.S. Marine Corp officers are launching a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or later after returning to the United States. A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said July 24 that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is being...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
lm-kmax

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned cargo helicopter team returns from deployment

After lifting more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo and conducting thousands of delivery missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system has returned ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>