People Recognize Vietnam Veterans

It's not yet a common calendar holiday, but on March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day.

The Vietnam War is known for it's controversy and lack of support for the troops.

"We were actually told to dress in civilian clothes if we could, so that when we got off the plane we wouldn't be treated - we had heard that we were being spit on and other kind of things that they didn't appreciate us," said Retired Army Commander Sargent Major, Norb Strasser.

March 29 was the day the last of the troops left Vietnam in 1973. In 2009, the state of Wisconsin passed Act 36 to recognize the more than 12 hundred armed forces members like Strasser. He said he may not have big war stories, but he and his battalion provided a serious service to those fighting none the less.

"We had an engineer battalion that had many skills and the fact that we had the batch plans for concrete and asphalt and all the construction workers, we could do just about anything," said Strasser.

Other veterans have more extreme experiences, like Phil Kallas who said he didn't lose his arm, because he knows exactly where it is.

"Rocket propelled grenade that hit a few feet from me and it was a traumatic amputation and I went into shock and I nearly bled to death and I'm not sure of all of the particulars but I know that I survived," said Kallas.

Kallas was actually the only one to survive in his 101st Airborne Division. He said you can't fully understand war until you been in it. He learned this from his father, a World War II vet who gave him a surprise visit while recovering in the hospital.

"That first encounter with my folks and my dad looked at me and I started crying and I said 'now I understand,'" he said.

Vets said events like this is a good way to share that understanding that all service members had to learn.

"There's a lot of guys here that we can bump shoulders with and call each other brothers and I think that's what makes this organization so strong and that's what makes veterans so strong is because we have a common bond," said Wisconsin Veterans of Foreign Wars District 8 Commander, Bruce Sorensen

Many veterans said they hope future vets get honored too.

"I hope that when this thing winds down in Afghanistan that the Iraqi veterans and the Afghan veterans get recognized," said Strasser.

Thank you to all of our veterans.


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