By Cindy Ward
Feb 25, 2010
The Vietnam War started in the 50s and lasted into the 70s. It was
this country's longest and most divisive war. Anti-war protests swept
the country, and caught up in it all the soldier, coming home and
made a villain by some in his own country. It is a painful legacy
that is not forgotten today.
Jim McLoughan served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970.
"I got off the plane in Seattle, Washington and no one was there," he
said. "Not that it surprises me now that I look back on it, but being
a WWII veteran's son and seeing a lot of the ticker tape, you would
think someone was there. A group of men would be there to welcome us."
Perry Bundy served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969.
"They were running us thru a line to get us issued new dress greens.
Some of the guys there said, 'If any of you guys got civilians
clothes, get out of that uniform before you get to any civilian
airports,'" Bundy said. "I left the plane and about five minutes I
was inside the terminal and walking around, and there's a lot of
strange looking people walking around, and was I hit in the shoulder
with an egg. And 30 years later, when I moved one time, I found my
dress green jacket and it still had the egg yolk and egg shell on the
lapel. So I was like, 'Now I know what the guy meant when he said
Dr. Gary Lulenski served in Vietnam from 1970 to1971
"My coming home was this coldness and silence. It wasn't people
throwing things at me," he said. "…By 1971 a lot of soldiers were
back there for their second tour, and actually they volunteered for a
second tour, so that's some kind of statement about coming home, that
they went back to that place instead of staying in the world. So I'd
been told the best thing to do is get out of your uniform, and then
you'll feel more comfortable. "So after I got to the civilian airport
in Seattle, that's what I did, changed into civilian clothes
Brendan Wilczynski served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, and in
Afghanistan in 2009.
"I can't even imagine what it must have been like to deal with the
stress of coming home from a combat zone and not being accepted by
your community or the people surrounding you," he said. "The reaction
was huge, you know, we had great fanfare. Police escorts everywhere
we went by bus, and that kind of stuff, so it was great fanfare at
the time. It was pretty spectacular. We felt open and welcomed by the
community, which was really important.
Don Alsbro served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967, and then from 1970 to 1971.
"Us Vietnam vets realized how we were treated, and I think the
country has tried to put a different face on the soldier," he said.
"The soldier is to be respected for what they've done."
Glenn Youngstedt served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971.
"It really kind of irritated me with some of the movies," he said.
"Particularly how they portrayed Vietnam veterans or Vietnam soldiers
as being a little crazy, immature and drug addicts, alcoholics. Most
of the people I knew who had come back, that was not the case at all.
We were pretty normal, or at least we thought we were."
Clifton French served in Iraq in 2006.
"It was a great homecoming," he said. "We came home on Christmas Eve
and Santa Claus marched us into the hangar to where our families were
waiting for us. If I'm in uniform, walking anywhere, I expect at
least somebody to come up and say 'Thank you.'"
Perry Bundy: "It's really a lot to do with the Vietnam vet," said
Bundy. "We basically swore that we would never let that happen again."
Gary Lulenski: "The generation that was most unhappy, hostile, mad
The people who had to see and listen to what happened at Kent State,
the Democratic Convention, and all those bad things, and about Me
Lai. Those people, most of them, I guess, have maybe mellowed. Some
of them are no longer here, and I see the younger people today, and
they view veterans as someone who served their country, and all
veterans should be welcomed home."