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          Vietnam Veterans of America & Associates Chapter 1008

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                Presentation At Conestoga Valley High School

         On Friday, April 4, 2014 members of Chapter 1008 held an all-day presentation to discuss our experiences while serving in Vietnam.

   We started the sessions at about 8:00 AM with 4 classes attending for a 90 minute discussion each. Our members included Army, Navy and Marines. Some of the panel members were Infantry, supply by land and sea, and artillery among other duties. We each introduced ourselves and gave a brief description of what we did while in Vietnam. One of the members was an Army Infantryman, but was severely wounded shortly after arriving in country. Another Army member received a Silver Star for Gallantry In Action, and was also wounded. One Army member was in an artillery water mobile operation also known as Rivereen. The supply men, one in the Navy was stationed on a supply ship. Their responsibility was to bring supplies to numerous units by sea from the south all the way to the DMZ. The other supply person did the same, but by land instead. The Marine was a Communications Technician, responsible for helping to keep the lines of communications working.
    The students asked many excellent questions, some temporarily stumped the panel. The asked what the weather conditions were like, what were the conditions like while doing our respective jobs. They also asked what the food was like, and what we missed most about being away from home. The students also asked what were our overall feelings about the war, and of course would we do it again.
    One class of students had just finished a 9 week course about Vietnam, while another class was just beginning.
    Our Education Committee is trying to arrange the opportunity to do this at other schools in Lancaster County, because the students are so receptive when we do conduct these presentations.
    Chapter 1008 will have another presentation on May 8th at Warwick High School.

  Dear Vietnam Veteran,
     I know I should have written much sooner.
     I can`t say why I did not. Out of fear of admitting to myself, you were there, fighting a war, or maybe ashamed. Ashamed that I never accepted the things you felt you had to do.
     Whatever it is, I know it must hurt.
     Believe me when I say it hurts me more. I have the burden of your hurt plus that of my own. The pain of not being able to share my true feelings towards you.
     I am not writing this for the months you served in Vietnam, but for the many years, you were left alone with only your brother veterans. You served proudly and it went unmentioned.
     For a long time, I`ve wanted to hold you during your times of pain.
     God knows I wanted to.
     And only He knows why I never found the courage. I do not remember what I use to say; maybe I do not want to remember.
     All I know is I hope it is not to late to give you these things now.
     For years you tried to be part of my world. Doing everything to please me, just to be noticed and given a little time and understanding...
     I look back and see the demands I placed on your shoulders when you were young. "Fight your weakness, and always show strength to others around you."
     Who was I to make such a demand?
     I sit here with tears in my heart; finally admitting to myself the one weakness you must have seen in me and never questioned.
     My inability to say the words that I know would have meant so much to you.
     You served your country honorably.
     Please hear these words now, from my heart. Please give me a chance to be part of your world now. The world I should have been part of long ago.

       Love, America