Veterans Remember The Moments Before War - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/19/03 - Tyler

Veterans Remember The Moments Before War

"The first thing that comes to my mind," Korean War Veteran Wilburn Criss tells. "Was I ever gonna get back home?" He was 21 years old. His heart was filled with fear, his mind with anticipation. The same emotions he has sympathy for today--as new troops brave a new war, "Those young people are alive today," he says. "If they start war up tonight or tomorrow some of them won't come back home."

Wishing his wisdom could comfort, he knows it's the many silent prayers that matter for the front lines and the home front, "Just pray and ask the lord to protect them because I was one that he let his graces shine upon to come back."

Wilburn says todays troops are facing challenges that he didn't have. Like chemical and biological warfare...a fear that's still fresh for Richard Lockhart, a Gulf War Veteran. "When we went through he first day of the ground war," he explains. "We went in with our chemical suits on. Every second is precious."

At 20, Lockhart traded his youth for an M-16. His clothes for a chemical mop suit, "You've got so much time to put things on and they can launch it from air, bomb and if it catches you off guard--there's nothing you can do."

But it was brotherhood he believes carried him through 3 days of the ground war, "We can share emotion like that and have somebody to lean on and take care of us at the same time."

Both veterans say, if given the chance, would willingly go back into combat.

Jennifer Brice, reporting.

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