Veterans visiting wall feel welcome after post-wartime hate
This trip is so important to some because it’s something to be proud of.
The trip not only gives these vets a chance to see historic monuments for free, but also for many of these veterans, it's the welcome home that they never received.
Harold Draves, more commonly known as "Spider", says deciding to go on the trip wasn't an easy decision.
It brings back a lot of memories. And not all of them are good.
Draves served in the Marine Corps for nearly two years working on a fire base with high-powered equipment.
But when it was all over, he says coming home wasn't a warm welcome, but more of a cold shoulder.
"People ask me about coming back. I told them, people hated us…you can't believe these people screaming and yelling in your face. They literally hated you. You could see it in your eyes. They weren't friendly,” said Draves.
He came home to protestors throwing coffee grounds and eggs.
He says being a Vietnam veteran wasn't something to brag about back then.
No one wanted to hire him forcing him to start his own business.
Almost 50 years later, he says it's finally something he can publicly be proud of.
"We are much better supported now than we ever were. Vietnam vets we have a little saying, never again shall one vet be treated like that by others, so we try to reach out to other vets. We didn't have that. On a bus they weren't nice to us,” he said.
The group of veterans return to Michiana on Sunday.