Vietnam Vets meet in Rusk County - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/15/04 - Longview

Vietnam Vets meet in Rusk County

       Hundreds of Vietnam veterans from all over the southwest came together at the rose amphitheater south of Henderson in the first annual "southern Vietnam veterans reunion".

    "Vietnam veterans they are the only ones who understand how you feel, because we've all been through the same thing" says navy Vietnam veteran George Rogers. An aging veteran population is still trying to come to terms with the southeast Asian war, that cost 58-thousand American lives.

   "To see the guys that went through the same thing you went through, understand what you went through, communicate that with each other it's pretty important" says army Vietnam veteran Bill Bacon. For Fort Worth school teacher Andy Anderson, a marine who fought during the tet offensive in 1968, the Iraq war is close to home.

   "My son leaves in 2 weeks for his 2nd tour in Iraq" says Anderson. Vets say the pressures of combat is something they relate to , and the fact that our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting an unconventional enemy who strikes and then disappears... Much like Vietnam.

  "Theres a lot of similarities regardless of what the politicians say, and it's getting more every day" said Anderson.

   "They suffer through the same things we went through, our fathers went through so yeah we empathize with them very closely" Bacon said. "You never get over it , you just learn to live with it" says Rogers. The reunion will end with a non-denominational service at 9 Sunday morning. Bob Hallmark reporting.

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