I was blessed in attending this wonderful Veterans Flight Home Event this past Sunday evening, March 19, 2017, at Liberty High School, here in Bakersfield, California.
It all started out with me not even knowing of this occasion until the night before when I was grocery shopping at a local store. Seeing this elderly couple walking in front of me as I was leaving the store, I thought, how awesome seeing this couple who’ve obviously been together for many years, still with their love and devotion towards each other.
I made a comment to the elderly lady as she was tending to her husband, who was obviously handicapped both physically and mentally. He was barely walking with a limp, as if he may have had a “stroke” in recent years, or a bad accident/injury of some sort.
Still this loving couple really touched me. I made a remark out loud to them “how nice to see such love with you two”. The woman turned around and replied, “Yes, we’ve been together over 40 years now, but it hasn’t all been easy.” I praised her “ma’am, with all respect, I just had to say how lovely it is seeing elders together like you two.”
She walked her husband to their car then came back to talk with me, telling me her husband was a veteran of the Vietnam War, and just within the past couple years suffered a stroke. So, he had to learn to walk, talk, and function all over again, and was doing quite well I might add.
I then mentioned that last year I started a foundation called, “The Fatherless Foundation” because I had lost my Dad by a drunk driver when I was just 9 years old. This foundation is a personal venture of mine, and I’ll be working with many Veterans, and their families who suffered losses from that terrible war. For many Veterans were killed in Vietnam leaving their then young wives “widows”, and their children “fatherless”.
Seeing I had several family members and friends die over there in Vietnam, and the ones who made it home had a “rough time” readjusting. I could tell this wonderful elderly lady saw my passion and pain I still carry for my own loses, and for my Dad being killed at such a young age (37). Which occurred on December 17th, 1965 right before Christmas.
This woman then asked, “Are you going to the Veterans Flight Home event tomorrow?” I asked her the time and place it was to be held. She gave me the info, which was a God-sent, for I’ve been trying to find the right person/connection to start helping our Veterans as much as possible, volunteering my time.
When I went to Liberty High School the next evening, it was PACKED. I felt so HONORED just being a part of this wonderful event…HONORING OUR VIETNAM VETERANS who were flown to Washington, DC and back, and then bused to Bakersfield, Ca. for this fantastic evening of honoring them.
There was also quite a few World War II & Korean War Veterans in wheelchairs in the first row inside the auditorium. They all had their hats on signifying the war in which they fought. I immediately went up to all in wheelchairs and as I shook their hands, I thanked them all for their services. Adding it was an honor meeting them.
Though I had missed the Vietnam War by only a couple years, I still was wearing a USMC (United States Marine Corp) t-shirt. As they said “Semper Fi” to me I repeated it back to them. And once in discussion with some Veterans I was asked if I had served. I explained, “I tried volunteering in 1974 when I graduated.
First going to The Marine Corps recruiting office, then the Army, then Air Force, and The Navy. But, all said the same thing to me, “Son, no one is going to Vietnam now. It’s only “clean-up crews already enlisted and there”. I said, “That’s ok, I’ll volunteer to be on one of the clean-up crews.”
All said the same thing once again to me, “son, you don’t understand, NO ONE goes to Vietnam as of 1972, per President Nixon”. I explained by extensive training in “Hapkido” by Grandmaster Bong Soo Han, who had trained several troops during my own training. Still, no such luck. I really wanted to serve our Country.
All of this has come full circle to me. After losing my Dad in such a horrific way, my mission in life has always been to help others, especially those who’ve shared my “father absent” life. This includes those “mother absent” lives too.
These pictures show the LOVE, DEVOTION, LOYALTY, AND HONOR all who attended this fantastic event have towards our Heroic Veterans and their families.
May God bless ALL of them and their families. We OWE this love and honor to ALL who’ve served this great nation of ours.
GOD BLESS ALL OUR TROOPS AND VETERANS!
GOD BLESS AMERICA!