Vietnam Veterans-Veterans Day
This morning, American Legion Post 43 and the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 hosted an event called Vietnam Veterans-Veterans Day. Today marks the 48th anniversary of the U.S. departure from Vietnam and the program honored all those who served. Three Vietnam vets, Phil Maughan, Mike Barbour, and Wayne Fischer spoke about their experiences.
Maughan talked about his story of leaving home and being drafted. When he graduated college in 1969, he was commissioned lieutenant the same day, while getting married right out of college. At the end of training, Maughan was assigned as a platoon leader in Ft. Bragg so he was able to move his wife and infant there before receiving orders to leave for Vietnam in summer 1970.
“My going to Vietnam didn’t come as a shock. I had known for four years that I was going to be on active duty and I could see that this war was not tailing down,” said Maughan. “The separation from the family, leaving from the civilian airport in Dayton was one of the more low points of my life. Not sure what would happen to me and what would happen to the family if something did happen to me.”
Barbour talked about his story of being in country. He spent 11 months and 20 days in Southeast Asia. “I remember heat. Heat that kept me from getting a full breath for weeks, heat that stopped your strength so that you were beyond exhaustion after a minor exertion,” said Barbour. “But above all this, I remember people. Faces, personalities, and human events still crowd my days and nights with both pleasure and pain.”
Fischer talked about his experience coming home. “[I] flew into Minneapolis, hooked up with my folks and my brother and his wife and spent a few of days there. After a couple days with my folks, mom said ‘you’ve changed.’ ‘No I haven’t changed.’ Well, she was right and I was wrong. We change and that’s just the way it is,” said Fischer.
He also talked about what he believes was “the true beginning of the end” of the negativity those who served in Vietnam would sometimes receive. “I never ran into any demonstrations back home primarily because I grew up on a farm in southwest Minnesota. There were no protestors there. And then there was a welcome you home parade in Chicago. This was back in June 13, 1986. There was like 200,000 vets in the parade and an estimated half a million spectators.”
“11 Naperville Fallen”
The ceremony also recognized “11 Naperville Fallen” with plaques displayed on the wall at Veterans Park and an American flag in front of each one. The Vietnam Veterans-Veterans Day event ended with final honors with the combined post honor guard and sound of the Echo Taps.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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