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500 wounded vets to join rebirth of cruise (Chicago)
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | July 27, 2007 | Teresa Sewel

Posted on 07/27/2007 11:05:04 AM PDT by Graybeard58

The lake's serenity is what Vietnam War veteran Samuel Miller Jr. remembers most about the last Purple Heart Cruise in 1994.

Now that the tribute to wounded veterans will be revived Tuesday, honorees like Miller are glad to see it set sail once again along the waters off Navy Pier.

"I felt the compassion," Miller, 59, said of the earlier cruise. "You can't put words behind something like that. It's a wonderful feeling."

Created by late longtime Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet, for 50 years the cruises honored war veterans with a day trip along Lake Michigan. Now, Kupcinet's grandson David has renewed the tradition because of the new sacrifices being made by America's troops.

"When Kup retired the cruises, there was a relative state of peace for our country," David Kupcinet said. "And given the state of affairs now ... we felt it would be a pertinent time to bring it back."

He expects at least 500 veterans and their family members to board the Odyssey at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The day will start with a presentation of colors by the Great Lakes Naval Base. Guests will be greeted with plenty of food and local acts.

Jim Snow, a member of Voice of Veterans, said the band is honored to play during the cruise. The ensemble tries to help veterans deal with their emotions through song.

"It's hard to leave war behind," said guitarist and vocalist Snow, a 60-year-old Vietnam veteran. "No matter which war you were in, you come back changed."

Miller said the cruise makes veterans feel appreciated. His wounds are not visible, but he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and diabetes contracted from exposure to Agent Orange during the war.

As Miller prepares for this cruise, he can't help but reflect on the last one.

"They treated us like royalty."

KEYWORDS: vietnamvets
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Samuel Miller Jr., a Vietnam veteran who attended Kup's last cruise in 1995, will attend the new Purple Heart Cruise on July 31, 2007.

1 posted on 07/27/2007 11:05:08 AM PDT by Graybeard58
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To: Graybeard58

What a great way to honor guys that have
literally bled for this country.

I`m sure this will be something those guys`ll
never forget.

2 posted on 07/27/2007 11:58:24 AM PDT by 31M20RedDevil (Fred Thompson for President)
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