Dan Polecheck’s Tribute to Vietnam Vets

Reposted from A Crusty Old Sailor Remembers Vietnam

Several years ago I was struggling and having trouble coping with Vietnam. I started writing poetry to help myself with these struggles. The first poem i wrote was titled “The Wall” and it took me six years to write it. When I went back to college to get my degree in website development and design, I created this movie utilizing my poem. It was before I really learned to design well and it is a little on the rough side. But since it was part of my healing process, I never wanted to change it. If you would like to see this movie, you can click on the picture of “The Wall” below and it will take you to it.



Freedom is not Free – A Soldier’s Pledge

Thank God for our Veterans and Active Duty Personnel now serving.  Please say a prayer to keep them safe and to heal their wounds, both seen and unseen.

Surviving Difficult Times


Reposted from A Crusty Old Sailor Remembers Vietnam

Lamentations 3:22
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”

In early 1968, Colonel Ben Purcell was in a helicopter in Vietnam when they came under fire. While under enemy fire, their helicopter was hit and they crashed in the jungles. As they were escaping the burning wreckage, he and the men with him found themselves surrounded by Viet Cong troops who were armed with automatic weapons.

They were marched through the Vietnam jungles to the prisoner-of-war camps. For the next few years they endured interrogations, beatings and severe punishment from the enemy. When asked what was the source of strength that allowed him to make it through the difficult time he said, “My sources of strength are quite simple: faith in God and country…” He continued to say, “Every morning I’d wake up and say, ‘Ben, maybe this is the day you are going home.’ The sun would go down and I’d say, ‘Tomorrow is another day.’”

I love what he said about how he got through the difficult times. He made it through the difficult times by keeping the hope every morning that that day could be the day they were going home. Looking to the hope of the morning is what kept him going through the difficult times.

That is exactly what God was teaching us through Jeremiah’s lamentation. The beginning of Lamentations 3 shows the difficult times in which God’s people found themselves. Yet, every morning was a new day to see some things that kept the difficult times from destroying them.
Every morning they looked to the mercies of God. They completely understood that God should have consumed them, yet in the morning they remembered they were alive because of God’s mercy. When you face difficult times, you must look to the mercies of God and realize that if it were not for His mercies you would be worse off. You will never make it through difficult times if you don’t see the mercies of God.

Moreover, every morning they dwelt on God’s compassion towards them. What does it mean by God’s compassions? It is talking about God reaching towards them every morning. Friend, every morning you must see how God has reached toward you in the difficult times. Somewhere throughout each day you will find that God has done something for you. It may be something small God has brought your way, but He only brought it your way because of His compassions. Difficult times will only be endured if you remember God’s compassions every morning.

Furthermore, every morning they acknowledged God’s faithfulness. Every morning they realized that God was faithful enough to be with them through their difficult times. Truly, this is what will help you keep your sanity. God’s faithfulness to be with you through your darkest hour is what can keep you going. In the darkest hour of your life, you can always be assured that God will be with you as you endure difficult times. It is His presence that gives comfort when the difficult times try to destroy you.

Friend, just like Colonel Purcell lived for the morning through his captivity, you must live for the morning through your difficult times. The difficult times are endured by realizing every morning may be the last day you will have to endure that difficulty. But until the difficult time ends, every morning see the mercy, compassions and faithfulness of God to get you through the dark hour of your life.

Arlington Flyover

Two Air Force Pilots, Major Howard V. Andre Jr. and Major James E. Sizemore, were recently buried at Arlington National Cemetery and were honored with a flyover by civilian pilots. The Air Force pilots were Killed In Action over Laos during the Vietnam War and their remains were only recently discovered and returned for proper burial at Arlington. This Flight of Honor was truly awesome for the other pilots to plan and conduct it.

Vietnam Experience

by The Crusty Old Sailor

Patriot Guard Opicka Vietnam Experience

Several years ago, I personally had the honor to escort the traveling wall into Green Bay, Wisconsin.  It was all part of LZ Lambeau.  It was one of the highest honors that was ever given to me and I took it very seriously.

Original article By Jeff Mullin, columnist Enid News and Eagle

Vietnam experience taught us how not to treat our troops

ENID, Okla. — It resembled a scene from the 1953 Marlon Brando film, “The Wild One,” in which a motorcycle gang invades a small California town.

There were motorcycles everywhere Friday afternoon on the streets of downtown Enid.

But unlike the film’s gang, these bikers were not intent on mischief or mayhem, and were not young hoodlums.

Instead, these riders were bent on showing respect to the object they were accompanying, the 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall that will take up permanent residence at Enid Woodring Regional Airport sometime next year.

These were not hoodlums, but law-abiding citizens, many of them military veterans.

And they were decidedly not young. Gray hair and age-worn skin were predominate.

“I can’t tell you how many old, gray-headed guys I’ve seen,” joked Don Allen, chief executive officer of the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Tribute organization, the group that sold the wall to the Woodring Wall of Honor committee.

Wherever the wall has gone, it seems, cycle-riding veterans have been there to escort it.

The replica wall, and the original it represents, means a great deal to these men.

They went to Vietnam and returned, while the wall contains the names of 58,272 of their colleagues who did not make it home.

Not that the troops who did return from Vietnam were treated very well.

Bob Farrell, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant and a Vietnam-era vet, told of being warned not to wear his uniform in public because “being a member of the United States military was not in best keeping of traditions of the U.S. government at that time,” he said.

In 1979, working as a Congressional military escort, Farrell made a trip to Hanoi, the former capital of North Vietnam.

He and his three fellow military escorts broke away from their shadows and made an impromptu visit to the site of the “Hanoi Hilton,” the notorious North Vietnamese prison where many American POWs were held in appalling conditions.

“In August, in 105-degree weather, 110-degree weather, I can tell you that chill went up our spine,” Farrell said.

During his time at the Pentagon, Farrell was spat upon and had blood thrown on him by protesters.

“Those times have changed, thank God,” he said.

And they have changed, he said, in large measure because of the experiences of those who served in Vietnam.

“Military men and women today have military veterans of the Vietnam era to thank for that,” he said.

Military members in uniform today are celebrated, not scorned.

Strangers walk up to them and thank them for their service.

In an airport during a recent trip, I witnessed a civilian buy breakfast for a pair of airmen in uniform.

The man was reluctant to accept thanks from the somewhat flustered young people, preferring instead to thank them for serving their country.

“Maybe we have learned as a nation the lessons of Vietnam not to treat our people like crap when they come home,” he said.

But don’t feel sorry for Vietnam veterans, says Allen, a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

“We’re not victims, Vietnam veterans are not victims,” he said. “We’re proud, honest, God-fearing people. That’s all we want to be treated as.”

There were no parades for returning Vietnam veterans, no welcome ceremonies.

“It doesn’t matter about parades, it’s a mindset,” he added.

He doesn’t question the mindset, just its sincerity.

“Nowadays, there’s a lot going on for all the troops returning,” Allen said, “and those are great things. Hopefully we had a little bit to do with that. But going into the future it is really important that we understand that. Only the dead have seen the end of war.

“I’m tired of all the bumper stickers, guys, I’m tired of all the other stuff. Don’t tell me you support the troops. What the hell are you doing? What’s that mean?”

By bringing the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall permanently here, Enid has done something to support the memories of those who fought and died in Vietnam.

“This is a physical manifestation of actually, as the artillery guys say, putting steel on the target,” Allen said, “supporting our troops and standing tall.”

Enid and Oklahoma are known for their patriotism and their support of service members and veterans. But thus is not the case everywhere, it seems.

Scott Hakim, a Marine infantryman in both Iraq and Afghanistan, told NBC News about a female classmate at Rutgers University saying, “Why should we pay these guys to go to college?”

She was referring to the nearly one million veterans enrolled at U.S. schools under the post 9/11 G.I. Bill.

“Everybody who goes into the military is stupid,” she continued, “that’s why they joined the military instead of going to college.”

Hakim, who was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan and suffered a traumatic brain injury, took the girl’s remarks personally.

He vowed to out-study everybody in the class prior to the mid-term exam.

He received the highest grade in the class, 98 out of 100, while his unhappy classmate flunked.

This young lady should consider that if it wasn’t for people like Hakim and all those who have served in all our nation’s wars, she might not have the freedom to attend college.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.


Clarence Sasser – A Real Hero

On January 10, 1968, Army medic Clarence Sasser, himself injured, moved from wounded soldier to wounded soldier in a fierce firefight in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. The Medal of Honor was presented to him by President Nixon on March 7, 1969.

If you know a Vietnam Vet, thank him and welcome him home. Remember they were just doing a job, a job that has been with them for the last 40-50 years.