Vietnam veterans honored at Silent Wings Museum
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It was on this day in 1973 that the Paris peace accords were signed ending America’s involvement in the Vietnam war.
The ceasefire opened the door for thousands of American soldiers to come home.
A ceremony at the Silent Wings Museum recognized veterans in our area for their fight.
“They fought with honor and distinction and integrity, so we want to honor that sacrifice and let them know that we want them to see themselves the way we see them as heroes,” Benny Guerrero, commander with the Veterans of Foreign Wars said.
Those heroes stood at the forefront as the beneficiaries of their actions showed their gratitude and listened as the former soldiers told their stories. Guerrero says seeing the soldier’s faces helps others understand their service.
“Whenever you put a face to sacrifice it makes it real,” Guerrero said. “It’s your neighbor. It’s that guy or gal that served in the armed forces and fought for freedoms.”
John Finke is a Marine, and a Purple Heart recipient.
He was drafted and deployed to Vietnam at the age of 20.
“We arrived in Da Nang and they put us on troop carriers and sent us up north,” Finke said. “That’s what we did. We just search and destroy, that’s all we did. We’d go somewhere and clean up and then we’d go somewhere else. The people had it rough you know. They didn’t have a chance. They could do anything to help you or they’d get killed. You couldn’t do anything to help them or they get killed. It was sad.”
Guerrero says accounts like these tell the true story about what happened overseas.
“We want to tell our veterans story,” Guerrero said. “When it’s raw and from their hearts and their minds and their memory banks you get to actually see what was happening on the ground.”
More than 58,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam before the Paris peace accords were signed.
It’s the fourth most deadly conflict in the history of our nation.
Guerrero says what those soldiers did in life will echo throughout history.
“That sacrifice meant so much and it freed people at one time, or it liberated people at some time, and it protected people at some time,” Guerrero said. “Their sacrifice is really what needs a face. It’s been said that a soldier truly dies when he’s forgotten, and it’s our job never to forget.”
For information on how to donate to the VFW or to find more events like these you can visit their website.
Copyright 2022 KCBD. All rights reserved.