Skip to comments.Vietnam veterans gaining back pride – and medals
Posted on 08/07/2005 10:12:15 AM PDT by USMC Veteran
PROVIDENCE, R.I. Still in his Army greens, William Tallerdy barely had both feet back on American soil when a man came up to him, demanding to know if he was returning from Vietnam. Then, right there in the airport, the heckler punched the veteran in the face. Tallerdy exploded. The police and his relatives had to restrain him.
Soon after, he threw out his war ribbons. That was 1967.
"I was always proud of my military service," said Tallerdy, who is now 57 and lives in Cheyenne, Wyo. "It was just that people made me feel like scum."
Tallerdy wasn't alone. Many returning Vietnam veterans, faced with a hostile public, threw out their medals. Some, like former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, even did it in public as an act of protest. Others simply tossed them in drawers and foot lockers if out of sight, perhaps out of mind.
Four decades and a nation friendlier to the military, though, have helped a number of veterans come to terms with their service. Now, they regard their medals with a renewed sense of pride and are replacing them or dusting them off.
"We made peace with the former enemy," said Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska senator who earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. "And we made peace with a former enemy that had defeated us, which is extremely hard to do."
Tallerdy requested his Purple Heart medal a few years ago. Today, the replacement is in a cabinet alongside eagle figurines, dog tags and other war memorabilia.
The Pentagon doesn't keep statistics on replacement medals, according to spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke. The anecdotal evidence from the veterans themselves, however, suggests the numbers are high.
While Tallerdy displays his Purple Heart in his living room, William Muns shows off his honors among them the Good Conduct and Vietnam service medals on the wall of his office in Beaver County, Pa., where he is the county's director of veterans affairs.
Muns had stashed his medals and his uniform inside a foot locker when he came home in January 1968. He wanted to move on. He never talked about the war, not even with his family.
Then, five years ago, his wife brought his medals out and created a shadow box for him.
"'You were there. You were exposed. You were put in harm's way,'" Muns recalled her telling him.
Many who served in Vietnam, Muns said, are in the process of "coming out" as the passage of time has changed feelings about that war.
"Today we're showing ourselves because we want those men that are active right now to know that they are welcome and they are being supported," Muns said.
Honored though he was, John Wallace packed up his medals because he just didn't want to relive that moment when he helped men out of a downed helicopter before a B-52 strike.
That changed in 1989 when Wallace began doing advocacy work for veterans.
"The doors started opening up in my mind," Wallace said. "I was feeling better, I was relating more to my brothers in arms than I was to the civilians."
Now, he's president of the Vietnam Veterans of America state council in Maine and keeps his medals, which include the Bronze Star and Air Medal, on the wall in his computer room.
"They see that and it sort of makes them feel better," Wallace said of younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. "They can ask about how I got them, I can explain to them how I got them. It makes them feel better because what I went through was maybe worse than what they went through."
Tallerdy traveled to Branson, Mo., last month for the first Operation Homecoming USA, a weeklong tribute to Vietnam veterans. The experience moved him profoundly.
"I think now," he said, "it's almost become prestigious to say that you're a Vietnam veteran."
Kerry wrote his own recommendations for his medals. He did not earn them.
man person who betrayed the military and his country can be elected to the Senate amazes me.
When you see a vet, thank him.
I always do.
And thank you too!
I do. My brother was an evac chopper pilot in '72.
I forgot to add, he HATED LBJ.
PING and thanks.
Had he gotten a paper cut, would that qualify him for yet another Purple Heart?
The Police should have ARRESTED that Pr*ck for Assaulting-with-Intent-to-cause-harm!
He should have Known that You Don't Ever, EVER throw a fist into a War Veteran's Face whne the Soldier has been fighting against men who hate Americans, Liberty & Capitalism!!!
"Vietnam veterans gaining back pride...."
This writer lost me before I got through his title. His imagination is remarkable.
A few months ago at the commissary, a gentleman of late middle age was bagging my groceries. As we walked out to my car, I noticed he was wearing a hat with pins that indicated service in Vietnam. I thanked him for his service to our country, and he stopped, apparently taken aback. "You're only the third person who's thanked me since I got back in 1969," he said. I'll never forget it.
Kerry didn't toss his medals, he tossed fake ribbons and medals. then as now, he was a fake, a fraud. I'm just as amazed as to how that person can be in senate. He belongs in prison. But, those are the type of people which make up the left in this country.
We had the pride, what we didn't have was the nations respect, now we do.(at least 51% anyway)
When you see a vet, thank him.
The reality is that VN vets have NOTHING to NOT be proud of. They served their country well. Where the real problem lies is with the POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON, the libs who created VN, and then did NOT LET THE MILITARY FIGHT THE WAR. Those are the criminals, the bad boys, the people who SHOULD BE ASHAMED of what they did to VN vets...not the troops who did their dirty work, dying to allow them to play politcal chess with Viet Nam.
I know, I served then...
It's a shame that this many years later these men are finally feeling some sort of peace. Then we have the bitch Hanoi Jane planning to stir it all up again and contribute to making another generation of heroes feel unwelcome. I hope something happens to make her planned tour in March not materialize.
Thank You for your service!!!
I am a Beruit veteran. The first thank-you I received was after the first Gulf War. America's attitude towards the military changed during that war.
These men should be very proud of what they did for this Country. They were called to serve and did what so many people can never imagine. I get so angry when I read stories like this. The leftist scum has left such a sad legacy.
I'll agree with your qualified remark. THIS TIME, none of that behavior will be tolerated within my eyesight. The protesting scum that traveled to Crawford, Texas to dishonor their sons and OUR country need to be run off. Yes, I still believe strongly in "LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!"
But they won't do either, there are like all the other Alec Baldwin scum that talk big, deliver nothing.
I want to thank you for your service to this country. I am already thanking the current war's vets when they are home on leave when I am given the opportunity. I don't want them to think for a moment that they are forgotten or that their sacrifice is for nothing. I want them to know that most Americans are supporting them inspite of what the media is trying to throw out to them.
... it pains me still that an actual draft dodger was elected president - TWICE.
Sounds like some of the Politico's today, denigrate the US Military and then cry because it doesn't work right.
Politicians maybe it should be time to practice decimation.
Ordered mine last week, should be here soon. Bought the display case last week also.
Care to provide proof, not liberal rhetoric?
I already do... 'cause he's my Dad.
Care to provide proof, not liberal rhetoric?
I'm not sure but I think that reference was to clinton, not GWB.
I assumed it was Clinton also.
I belive you have the respect of far more than 51% of the nation.
Just for the LOVE of it...
See: 'ALOHA RONNIE' Freeper Home Page
Hit: 'posted by ALOHA RONNIE' -Here
HIt: 'Links' -There
So do I. LBJ was the one who caused us to loose.
If it was, then I apologize. I'm just used to seeing those comments aimed at GWB.
I remember those days.
You know, it is important to document these stories. Lately, the lefties have started saying that these things NEVER HAPPENED to Viet Nam vets.
Kerry claims those weren't his medals. Yet, he received replacement medals and certificates in 1985 signed by SECNAV Lehman. Kerry didn't earn any of his three PHs and made up the rest. The MSM continues to spin for this traitor.
Lehman. He was the bastard that fired Adm. Rickover. When I hear his name I just want to scream.
My speculation was based solely on bimbo's 1999 'born on' date.
It never ceases to amaze me that the very people who accuse GWB of 'dodging the draft' by serving in the Reserves have no problem at all with their own real draft-dodger who loathed the military. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.
BTW, I 'dodged the draft' by joining the Navy and ended up serving for 9 years. The year 1966 wasn't a real good one to flunk out of college. :=)
It was because of a confrontation between Lehman and Rickover. Rickover being the crotchety old man that he was thought some of Lehman's decisions for the future of the submarine force were stupid and told him so. Lehman didn't like this and had Rickover removed. It pains me that Lehman didn't listen to the advice of the admiral who did the most (in my opinion) to win the Cold War.
The left is not at this point yet towards today's veterans. They are getting there and let's hope they never do but, should they, let's hope that the LE charge the left with a HATE Crime. Hey, the left invented the idea, so when they do such things against the veterans let's use their bright idea against them.
1st Cav's 1st Days in Vietnam-1965
Several thousand Vets have been "coming out" at a reunion every Sept for 15-20 years. And it gets bigger every year.
And Thank You!
Is it ok to post this?
Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization, Inc. invites you to attend the 23rd Annual Indiana Vietnam Veterans Reunion
Sept. 15-18, 2005
Camping is available, at a cost of $10 per night and the cost of admission is $10 per person for the entire weekend. To reserve a campsite at Veterans Park, your membership must be current. Reservations can be made by contacting Dick Forrey at (765) 628-0297 or you can contact Dick by email at Frogbo6566@globesurfer.net.
September Entertainment Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 15th, 2005
6-9pm Pre-reunion concert with "The Russ Chandler Show"
Friday, Sept. 16th, 2005
Noon Opening Ceremonies including Sam Davis CMH
12:30 pm The Ron Jones Show "American Warrior"
1:30 pm Memorial Garden Dedication
2 pm Dan Nightingale "So Freedom Can Fly"
3 pm POW/MIA service with Carl Cain
3:30 pm John Steer will be singing for you
5 pm Royal Butz back by popular demand!
6 pm Rewind Band, rocking like never before
8:30 pm The Bluz Brothers from the House of Blues Chicago,
The best act ever!
Saqturday, Sept. 17th, 2005
10 am Opening Ceremonies including Sam Davis CMH
10:30 am POW/MIA service with Carl Cain
11 am John Steer singing once again for you
Noon A Salute to our active military and American Veteran from
Desert Storm forward through Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts
12:30 pm Southern Oblivion Band
2 pm Russ Chandler performing for you
3:30 pm Britt Small of Festival Band Fame, A Vietnan Vet that brought
us all together
4:45 pm Mike Cobb a Rolling Thunder national Board Director
5pm POW/MIA Vigil at Tookolo Hall, sponsored by Rolling Thunder
Chapter 5 of Ohio
5:30 pm Surrender Dorothy Band the resident band of the Annual James
Dean Festival playing your favorite hit songs!
7:30 pm Royal Butz back by popular demand!
8:30 pm Wayne Barker Jr. and Vettz Band, with us for almost 20 years!
Sunday, Sept, 18th, 2005 Sunday Services with the Rev. John Steer & HCVVO Chaplain,
I left Danang in March of '69. Was there for 9 months. Flew with VQ-1 as a member of the Big Look Spooks out of NCS San Miguel, PI and Kamiseya, Japan. Made 67 missions over the North.
I too got spit on when I got off the plane in SFO. I back-handed the little bastard and kept walking. His hippy girl friend was screaming for security to arrest me. The cop just smiled and nodded at me. I kept walking.
I never felt ANY shame. I was from a military family. Father and both brothers were careerists. Mother was a Red Cross nurse at every duty station my father went to. I managed to do 12 years before they medicaled me out for injuries sustained in Nam.
I went on to staff duty in London, Instructor duty in Pensacola and Comm Chief duty in Rota Spain. Finished up- at CINCLANTFLT on limited duty while they were doing my medical boards. The 4 O6 officers on the board looked at me funny. Standing there with E8 stripes, wings and five rows of ribbons. They said I didn't look like a slacker. Told them if their doctors could fix me I'd be in for 30. But they couldn't. They let me out with 30%.
McNamera lost that war. He should have been shot for treason.
Lotsa VN vets on this forum. I salute you all, brothers in arms. Stay proud - and find some peace...
I never lost my pride over serving in Vietnam. I came home and wore my uniform wherever I went, on duty and off. I used to take my wife to a nice restaurant once a month and wore my dress blues with full sized medals. I got a lot of angry stares but no one ever challenged me or got in my face except that first time I came home after my first tour in Nam.
I had friends who never wore a uniform off duty. But I was not going to let a bunch of anti war, anti military people tell me I couldn't wear my uniform.
I can still remember wearing my Khaki uniform with ribbons when I went off base to have a drink in El Paso, Texas. I got a lot of respect from people in the Hispanic community and stares and angry comments from the rest of it.
Loved pissing off the liberals.
"When you see a vet, thank him"
Thank you, USMC
And for any here who served in or during Vietnam, you may be reluctant to think you deserve more gratitude than other veterans, but you do deserve more. Why? Because you never gave up on us although you had more than enough reasons:
You did your duty and protected the rights of all of us, including the hippies, yippies & drugged out flower children who were back home threatening to occupy buildings, sabotage water supplies, and taking over city streets yelling kill the "pigs"-their hateful term for the police.
You kept your word and honored your oath by following orders through four tumultous administrations, two democrat CINCs, two republican CINCs and so proved to us that your committment was for love of your country and respect for the office of the Commander in Chief....not politics.
You came home without a proper "welcome back" and very few thanks and you shrugged it off and went on to start carreers and families and get on with your lives. But you must have cringed over these many years at the way the MSM always seemed to find a way to insert the words "Vietnam Veteran" into every tragic story they could find.
I wonder if your brothers, The Swift Boat Veterans, fully appreciate what they did for the country last year? They reminded us that we sent our treasure to fight in Vietnam and that Honorable and Brave men did the fighting. They were the POWs and the troops who wanted us to remember their fallen comrades and those still missing.
I hope you VN Vets understand that when Americans opened their pocketbooks and their hearts last year to the Swift Boat Vets, it was because we know that you never gave up on us, and we finally had a way to say that extra thank-you.
I went to Kokomo 1989-92. Always a blast! Finally got my arms around Chris (and THE kiss) there, LOL. And never forgot Becky's ummmm dancing! :)
It's gotten to the point where, for the last several years, the cops have set up DUI checkpoints in every direction from the grounds.
If one doesn't camp there, don't drink(yeah...right) or have a sober driver.