DFW Vietnam Vets Weigh-In on the Legacy of the War

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DALLAS -- For the past week, NewsFix has brought you the stories of DFW Veterans who served during the Vietnam War. CW 33 teamed up with War Correspondent Joe Galloway, who's working with the Department of Defense on commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“You ask how I think this war is remembered in our society 50 years after it began, and I'm not sure that it's very well remembered,” Galloway told NewsFix.

“I think for some people, they’ll always think it was a mistake. And you have to wonder at some point in time, should we have done something else?” said LTC. King Moss (Ret.) who served in the U.S. Army.

Vice Admiral David Roberson (Ret.) said, “I think at the time it was very, very important that we be there."

“I think a lot of people look on it as a failure. I think it was a great learning process, and it did show that this country cared about freedom in other people.”

After returning from an unpopular war, many of these hometown heroes did not come back to a warm welcome.

“These are young men, now older men, who some of them laid down their lives so that I might live. Some of them were spit on, some were called baby killers,” Galloway said.

Eugene Pugh, a Staff Sargent during the Vietnam War said, “I went to the Seattle-Tacoma airport, and  we’re walking down the concourse, and I saw my first hippie. He says, 'Hey, hey, hey Green beret just back from Vietnam? Tell me how does it feel to squash a baby’s head?'"

“Yeah, it pissed me off, the whole anti-war thing," LTC Chuck Chamberlin (Ret.) said. “Of course, remember we were told in those days back in the late '60s not to wear your uniform out in public.”

“I think the general feeling that they didn’t support what you were doing has been there for a lifetime really.” Captain Tom Garriss (Ret.) recalled.

“It’s all right to hate war,” Galloway said. “Nobody hates war like those who have seen it and lived it, but you never hate the warrior."

“I’m glad I went to Vietnam, I just want you to know that. You know, I think I did my part," LTC. Ken Boatman (Ret.) said.

“I think it’s more of a positive thing now to recognize a lot of people sacrifices, and did what they were told to do whether they believed in the political purposes or not,” said Col. Ron Forest (Ret).

“We should thank them, that’s what this whole commemoration project is about,” Galloway said. “The memories of war linger as long as there’s breath in your body. When they died, they’re frozen in our memory at 19, 20 years old. It took a while before we began to learn what they gave up, what they would never know. We with each passing day know more completely what they will never know so it hurts more.”

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