Fifty years ago, the War in Vietnam escalated. More American troops were brought in. It was the beginning of an event that led to deaths, to post traumatic stress disorder, and shame for the way people greeted Vietnam Vets. Local 24’s Mike Matthews says they still remember.
The National Veterans Cemetery in Memphis; the final resting spot for men and women who went to fight, who often gave their lives on battlefields overseas.
Vietnam was different. There is no need to show old war pictures.
If you are sixty years old, or older, you remember it.
Some can’t forget. “I went through five years of therapy,” says U.S. Air Force Veteran Hessler Rowell. “I’m on a helping drug right now. I can’t get off it for a lifetime, you know.”
The cemetery is a place where veterans can hear the voices of friends, battle buddies. A place where they can hear the noise of war, and it is sometimes tough to take, those memories that never go away.
Hessler Rowell remembered. “It broke my heart. Several of my buddies didn’t come back. Plane crashed. Things happen like that. Maneuvers at night.”
The war was horrible. The homecoming was often worse. “When we got back it was as if we were responsible for the war,” says U.S. Army Veteran Joseph Kyles.
What this county has been doing for the past 30 years or so is try to apologize to Kyles and the other Vietnam Vets.
They were often warned while flying into San Francisco to take their uniforms off as quickly as possible, to avoid conflicts with people protesting the war, and the veterans who fought it. It was anything but a heroes welcome for Kyles. “A lot of things have changed since then, and they’re trying to make up for the lack of what they did when we came back.”
A small event was held at the National Cemetery in honor of the veterans of a war that started to explode 50 years ago.
A war that was fought in the fields of Indochina and the streets of this country.
Some who have survived still fight the demons, the nightmares, for them the war never ends.