Vietnam vets celebrate National Vietnam Veterans Day
MISHAWAKA, Ind. - For the first time since President Trump signed an act declaring March 29 National Vietnam Veterans Day, a group of local vets is celebrating what they call an overdue salute.
"We don’t have a whole lot of years to go most of us. Most of us are like myself in my mid-70s, so time is beginning to run out on us, so we appreciate what they’re doing for us right now anyway," said Vietnam veteran, Dave Guzicki.
He said they didn't get this kind of a welcome 50 years ago.
“I come back, they didn’t want to have nothing to do with us. They kind of pushed us off to the side," said Vietnam veteran, Michael Bella.
“Made you feel ashamed for what you did actually. You wanted to crawl, disappear," said Vietnam veteran, Joe Bubelenyi.
Even though they're celebrating their overdue "thank you", some vets say these laughs are hiding the torture their memories still inflict.
“You just can’t imagine what it was like to be out of high school and into a war...Real bullets. Real mortars. Real rockets. Machine guns. Terrible. Very terrible...It makes me sick every time I think about it, and it raises up my PTSD, which I know all Vietnam soldiers suffer from today, and it will be with us until our dying day," said Vietnam veteran, John Frosst.
But these vets say you can't hang on to the bad memories.
“You got to turn the page in that book and live today. You can’t live in the past," said Bubelenyi.
Many of the vets who attended the party at Catch 22 Thursday are going on the free trip to Washington D.C. in the summer.
The crew is now full, but they still need help getting there.
For information about how to donate, click on the Get Wet for a Vet website.