Nighttimes Magazine; 276; Welcome Home; SD-Base
Well you know you know like 27. Good evening. I'm Gary Gilson. Tonight I'd like you to see what I saw and hear what I heard and feel what I felt one weekend last fall in Washington D.C. American veterans of the war in Vietnam finally were honored. I spoke mostly with Minnesotans they could have come from any state before you share their experience I'd like to read you two paragraphs from an essay in Newsweek about who fought in that war and about the kind of war it was the writer is Newsweek's editor in chief William brawls who was drafted in
1968 and served as a Marine infantry lieutenant in Vietnam in 1969 and 70. Here's what he says. The names that speak most directly about the war aren't on the memorial. To my knowledge there are no names of any sons or grandsons of the policymakers who plot of the war or of the congressmen who voted the appropriations to keep it going. They weren't there. The war divided America most of all by driving a wedge between those who went and those who didn't. The educated kids who knew how to manipulate the system by and large avoided the war. The less privileged Americans fought and died there and now William Broyles of Newsweek tells us about the war itself. It was a war fought with few exceptions by companies and platoons by enlisted men and junior officers. The colonels and generals lived in permanent air conditioned houses safely in the rear. They slept in real beds between pressed sheets a splendid food flown in daily from Japan in the Philippines watched first run movies and flew out to the war in the morning and back in time for lunch. The war had no goal anyone who fought
it understood. Our only stated objectives were meaningless bits of territory we would fight over and abandon. There were no dramatic pushes to the Rhine no large missions nothing to feel a part of. When your 365 days were up you went home and the war went on beginning anew for the new arrivals as it ended for those who left. It made no sense under those circumstances my platoon's true mission was unrelated to any command from higher up. Our mission was to survive and now meet some survivors who have finally been allowed to come marching home. But. About one hundred twenty Minnesota Veterans met at the Dirksen Office Building for a reception
given by the state senators and congressmen who were not there themselves. We. Were up about 40 miles apart I was already in Vietnam in a mechanized infantry officer. And. But two or three months before I left. The. Truthful incidents ended up in my squad. And the day before I left driving. In a mine. And. Bust an arm. A leg. Track on fire has burned and there's a medic on board. And we've got our officers. Who happen to be from an ok on the last count. Pull John out. And. My last night in country. Was last night spent together he had his arms and legs bandaged and. By one month later to the day from. When. John. Cowden was. Was. Killed also. Blown up. My arm was amputated. My leg. Was blown. I mean. They were born off. Then being renewed silence was amputated above the elbow on my left leg was blown up right at the knees. And I got laid off or into the leg that was
indicated on my right. The right leg still got a hook in it the tibia was busted my right foot was crushed. And the arm was posted here my wrist a stamp. Took two fingers. And they saved this one. You're still there back on this in this whole back I got. 195 I think up the army. Hundred eighty five ninety up the way. But. They will. John what were you doing when you got to call the service. I was working as a burning carbon and all the California. At the time. And I. See I was an only son so that there was a little controversy there with my grandmother she says don't let the kid go to Vietnam and I. I had a feeling at that time I thought. You know I could have got out of the. House but. Only Son you didn't have to go. Through all that driving stuff for some time so I. My dad talking about it he says. The ranch I get so out of place in a way. So you do that I said I'll never be only on that I'm going. And I don't you know if I look back.
To those here though. I don't regret. What happened. But first I want. That I though not all but. But now. If I had to do the thing all over again knowing what I was going to go through if. I did it again. You know maybe it made me a better person before. I went in as a genuine cover and I came out of Vietnam and I went. And then I had to start using my head you know which I always thought about going to college but the pressure really was not me sought after I got to this I had to you know. And I got out of there and I got married and I went I got a two year degree and then I got a four year degree in business and finance you know. And I worked. As a racing supervisor for 3M and corporate headquarters in St. Paul for seven years. But now I had over 30 year ago because I had such awful problems I had John Hope he retired on disability last year suffering from several serious conditions and undergoing numerous operations. He bought a horse farm and moved back to fertile with his wife and two children. He says if he could he would fight again for his country if the United States committed itself to winning. Instead of pulling its punches the way
he felt it did in Vietnam I can have people talk to me and say that. That war was. I'm just always in a minute because I'm saying let's go in and save my life. I know his family very well today. Is it. Then. Did this guy die in vain. In fact that's what I've been saying and I I don't think I really have the right to say that. Tomic Loughlin of men as a Marine squad leader in Vietnam he was ambushed and lost a leg when he came home he had lots of problems five years ago I went into the V.A.. St. Cloud hospital. And midden myself to their drug rehabilitation. For five years now. Life. Is. Good. I really have a good feeling about this week. I. Think. It. Might. Very well be X or whatever I might put the cat. Thanks I don't. Think we. Have a veterans. Of Vietnam. When we came back was a society seem to have a big
vested interest for it and they saw a. Different. Sort of the movies all the time I don't know how many damn times you saw the news headline praised that runs amok. That's all of. It's over because of groups like the VFW and American Legion of the disabled vets and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And all these various That's groups. For you know like solidarity between the Vietnam era veteran in the veterans it is not a question of whether the top of the morning because they don't have a fence there it's not a question of whether they put a black jack in the hide of America. And say this is the Vietnam Veteran Memorial. A blackjack is that we're just saying to our. Vets that's what they're saying and that's what this city saying to the American veteran. We're I speak. I debate nightmare veteran. Right. I'm a Vietnam veteran. You're. Right.
It was in mechanized infantry I was in a line outfit I got wounded I spilled my blood on foreign soil I got my body was in the same outfit is I lost an arm and a leg. We were very moved by that monument yesterday we found names of people that we died with. That they died. We lived with him until they died. We like that monument. What do you want to see. I want to thank ye. Q. What kind of discount to what color. Picture shot in the park. That's monument means something our names on there are names of people that I know. And I'm proud of. The Iraqi. Larry Myers third.
Day he. Prances. See here. My go. Jay Sullivan. Michael Sullivan. Michael Sullivan. Jay Sullivan. NEIL be so of a. Solo. Solo. My name is Sara MacVicar and I'm from Trotwood Ohio. What was your experience of being inside the chapel. Well. I'm a Vietnam veteran and I remember a lot of the guys I took care of but I don't remember any of the names. And.
I guess it really hurt for me to sit there listen to name after name after name and knowing that that I saw some of those guys but I can't remember who they are you know it's like I remember I remember things about patients I remember a lot of them but to not knowing is really very difficult for me right now. Summerland. Franklin Soumik. Cheryl K.. Some model. Thomas Some like the night before the monument is to be dead on the field hands searching the black wall for names of. This man. Like many others came to find the name of someone whose name he did not know. He knew his body only as The Joker. His body's real name he discovered was Michael Pellegrino. I could think was there for his last name when you're here didn't know it. Already. Right.
But. We. We went to February 6 day and today got killed so. And he was an Eye talian from New York and I can remember his last I heard it. But. It's. Michael Kelly. Oh dear. It. Is the best friend in the. World. Terry McConnell is a laid off construction worker from Ohio. He was a Marine in Vietnam and he came here to carry on a personal vigil for the twenty five hundred men still listed as missing. When I met him he had stood holding his flag for 20 straight hours. I wondered if that was tough for him. A lot of other things would be tough doing this this is where I want to so I came to Washington not to go to the Hill. Today. Came here to be here. What do you think of this monument turn. I thought I'd hate it. When I learned. That. Through all the media I learned that. With all the good criticism I've heard of it I thought it was going to be ugly I hate and I don't want to see it. And I
came here. And I see a lot of guys names. And I can't help but love it. When I. See. Grass up on the top there it's level on top. And somebody has even said like God why isn't it above the ground where these guys are above the ground. It's a memorial to tribute. It's beautiful. I asked Terry if in his everyday life Vietnam is still in his mind. It's in my mind all the time. You don't forget that. You know. You know forget that. Don't forget a. Whole bunch of first things in your life and that's just the first thing living like that for me. No. I think I'm. Learning. Through other veterans and getting together with them and communicating with them that there is a way I can. Take some of the master out of my head. And get on the live in the way you know I always dreamed the life would be the way it was you know you're supposed to live it. You know.
George Washington Abraham Lincoln you know. And I'm American. I'm proud of them. I support the right of center. For the for the for of. Course he was concerned he was. Not already risen up through the party room still for the for all soldiers and Marines. Were really for the films on the right. They don't like about 40 other countries. Right. Perhaps there was a time there when I first went to Vietnam. That it. I thought we were in a war. Again and then. After the Tet Offensive when I seen Americans massacred in the worst way you could ever see and they wouldn't let us attack on one they wouldn't let us win the war. That's a result. From you know we could've won and that's the. Fries.
Good. Old friend. Can you tell me where you done won't. Read that have you. Oh but are you good a die young you. Know I just looked around. You with all. Of the Sheraton Washington hotel another search for the names of the living who have come here this week while hundreds of XDR eyes lounged around the dark lobby upstairs drinking and swapping war stories here in an exhibit hall. People wander through listen to tunes from the 60s and look at the splays like paintings from that time reading about it. You good day to die young. You. Know I just looked around. Most people have been here for a few days. They're waiting for tomorrow.
It's 8:30 in the morning on Saturday the day they dedicate this Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The day the parade it is windy and it is. Likely to rain the ground around this memorial is wet it's going to be a mud field by this afternoon. For Washington it's cold it's going to be in the 40s today yesterday it was almost 75. There are fifty seven thousand nine hundred thirty nine names on this monument they're up there in chronological order of. The time they were killed. The first one is Dale Beale was an Army major died July 8th 1059 hometown unknown. And the last name belong to Richard Van Dyk year. Air Force 2nd lieutenant died May 15th one thousand seventy five. He came from Columbus Ohio. I was very eager to come down here not only to see what the experience of the Minnesota Veterans would be but I have a very personal reason for wanting to be next to this wall. There's at least one name up there that I know
very well. Paul Gormley and I were in the Marine Corps together back in 1958. Like a whole bunch of us whose names began with G We went through boot camp together in a platoon leader school in Quantico about 30 miles south of here and we all lived in a Quonset hut and in our squad bay area with the double bunks. There was Gormley and Steve Gilligan both from Massachusetts. Fred jalopy from Ohio his bunkmate was green from Texas. And then there was Alan Gross from Washington D.C. and me. I was from Connecticut back then. As in most military outfits they say there's something desperately wrong with morale if somebody isn't bitching all the time and the biggest one of all was Paul warmly. He hated it. And he got out. And something apparently didn't work for him in civilian life and he went back in the service and by the time Vietnam was thick and heavy he was a captain with a staff job in Vietnam and. The way a friend of mine told me he begged desperately for a rifle company to command it he
got it and he went out in the next day got killed. Probably all Gormley. Killed in Vietnam on the 18th of December 19 65 age 31. He was from Draycott Massachusetts born on Armistice Day 1934. He was a solid guy a very gentle soul. Now its name is up on title number four on the east wall. Forgot. The names more more I should remember when I was older. With the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet 65 70. Ron Laird some Cloquet Minnesota I was with the 4th Division
and 69 70. More converts branches you have in the service. Oh I was infantry. Basically a Pathfinder. I spent my year out in or out of Bush. Every 30 days. You get mail. Every third day they brought in more food for us. Hopefully it was more food not not ammunition. Basically that's it. Just like all the rest of the people here because if they brought in more ammunition that would have meant you needed it a lot. You got that right. You can't express the. Emotions and feelings you had in the past few days. This. Of course will be a culmination of all of them but. Like I said it's hard to put into words. Would you try. I can't. I had some problems when I came out of the service I remember sang the San Francisco Airport hippie spitting on a man. And. I remember four guys from Notre Dame in the Chicago airport came on
give me a bunch of crap and want to know why I didn't go to Canada and. All you know I remember that stuff and I'll never forget. How to and started to only hear sex later when I was over there I was wounded six times. House. Wanted 68 69 70. The boat the boat hit something and then broke in half and there were five of the son and myself and. In the second class Gunny. We're going to made it off like a bust up he dragged me out of the water and. Before I ever got a chance to. Ground. Thank him he bought it. For four days later he's on a wall in there. Whatever's it. It's good to be one of the walking. Now. We were there. It's good to be back.
Think. With your peace of mind when I get there. That's. Right.
Love. Love to. Bring. Us the living got their parade and now it was time to honor the day. For this monument. We see you reflected in a dark Jamie that was and we remember ourselves our neighbors our friends. Our nation our bodies. Our cameras the pain the grief the resentment here and I
just think you know let go of impossible dreams always realities and lost innocence the loss of unity the loss of homers or more below. Let me outstretched arms of this monument be your instrument forgiveness and your abuse. The day done better in for memorial is now dedicated. How better here. Are our. They're looking.
Good. But they don't want to get away. With. It. That's my son. He was a helicopter pilot. And. Yeah the Bronze Star and The Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross and was coming almost three weeks. This is this is. What. I love we're just happy that we're here today. We love this memorial. It's very. Well to let us. See the picture. Well it's just going to develop No. Died November 30th 1967. Klang nicety.
When you spend every day with a child you don't see the child growing and then all of a sudden an uncle swings through from out of town and says gee that kid with the shot up 6 inches in the last year. Well this country's soul must have grown that way because after years of bitterness disappointment and recrimination. Last year all of a sudden Vietnam veterans felt comfortable holding their heads high and many of us who stayed behind some who had ostracized the Warriors as well as the war. All of a sudden felt respectable and good cheering for them. Feeling for them. So one of the veteran stage the events themselves and raise the money for their own monument. People came and for the moment that seemed enough. Maybe the public responded because the veterans have been so strong and demanding proper medical care and compensation. They stop being victims and stood up for what they need and deserve. They haven't won those fights yet but they have won respect. What they want and need more they are searching for justification for that war. As John said. How
can he say that Les Callan who saved his life died in vain. The irony is that those who search hardest for justification are those whom wars they use most horribly. The veterans want Vietnam behind them and reconciliation but is one of them told me that is a very tough matter. Future Vietnam's may be lurking around the corner and future generations of fighting boys and men wait to do as they are told by men whose sons and grandsons do not get their names inscribed on Memorial monuments. If I.
- Nighttimes Magazine
- Episode Number
- Welcome Home
- Producing Organization
- KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
- Contributing Organization
- Twin Cities Public Television (St. Paul, Minnesota)
- The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
- AAPB ID
- Public Broadcasting Service Series NOLA
- WEHO 000000
- Episode Description
- Nighttimes Magazine is a show about diversity, current events and talking to everyday people about everyday problems.
- Episode Description
- """In this special edition of NIGHTTIMES: MAGAZINE, Host/Producer Gary Gilson traveled to Washington, D.C. for the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial. During his visit, he met with Vietnam veterans and families of men who were killed in Vietnam. 'Welcome Home' is a sensitive and moving tribute to those who died in the Vietnam war and to those veterans who have now come together to be acknowledged by the country they fought for. ""Viewer response to 'Welcome Home' was enthusiastic--we received dozens of calls and letters from veterans and non-veterans thanking us for the program and asking that we repeat it. ""General audience - 18+.""--1982 Peabody Awards entry form. In this episode, host Gary Gilson documents the days leading up to the unveiling of the Vietnam War Memorial. He interviews several Vietnam war veterans there for the event, including Clark Dyrud, Tom McLaughlin, and John Hovde at a reception for veterans from Minnesota, who discuss the impact going to war and returning home had on them, and why their experience highlights the importance of the monument. Included is footage of a memorial service with a reading of the names. Veteran Sara McVicker speaks about the importance of seeing names of the men she treated as a nurse on the wall. Gilson interviews veteran Terry McConnell, who is holding a vigil for men who are still listed as missing. Terry speaks about his opinion of the memorial and the lasting impact of his experiences in Vietnam. Gilson also interviews many of the family and friends of those viewing the memorial, who share their appreciation for the monument, parade, and veteran community support."
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Local Communities
- Media type
- Moving Image
Producer: Berry Richards / Gary Gilson / Deanna Kamiel / Hope Atterbury
Producing Organization: KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Twin Cities Public Television (KTCA-TV)
Identifier: C-9755 (tpt Protrack Database)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the
University of Georgia
Identifier: 82159dct-arch (Peabody Object Identifier)
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Nighttimes Magazine; 276; Welcome Home; SD-Base,” 1982-03-08, Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-77-67wm4c6f.
- MLA: “Nighttimes Magazine; 276; Welcome Home; SD-Base.” 1982-03-08. Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-77-67wm4c6f>.
- APA: Nighttimes Magazine; 276; Welcome Home; SD-Base. Boston, MA: Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-77-67wm4c6f