Dying Vietnam veteran given welcome honors - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Dying Vietnam veteran given welcome honors

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- A Vietnam veteran is given the welcome home he never got as a returning soldier. A welcome given to him in the final time of his life, dying from cancer. Flags lined the entrance to Gladewater airport as army Vietnam veteran John Rollins arrived.

"Its important to let this man as an individual know that his Americanism his patriotism his service meant not to only his friends but his country," says American legion post 281 member Steve Fought.

There were no welcomes for John when he first came home.

"There were empty airports, no thanks you's , nothing," says fellow Vietnam veteran Wayne Stewart.

The hour is late in his life, he's dying of cancer. Family, friends, patriot guard and welcome home soldier members decided to give him the one thing he never got 40 years ago.  A welcome home.

"Even though its late, I'm pretty sure he'll see that we care," says fellow veteran Carlos Munoz.

He was presented a flag by American legion members. Gladewater skydivers saluted him by diving with flags. Many openly cried hoping somewhere inside,  John understood the honor bestowed on him.

"I figure before the man passes on we owe it to him, we owe it to him , to say thank you," said skydiver Jeff Hargis.

Under his breath John was heard saying , 'I'm finally home'. Rollin's family wants to thank everyone who made the welcome possible, including Angelcare hospice, the patriot guard, welcome home soldiers, and the east Texas skydivers of Gladewater.

Copyright 2011 kltv. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly