Wednesday is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the last combat troops returning home from the Vietnam War.
It’s a day to honor the sacrifice and service made by those who fought in the Vietnam War and the challenges they faced, even after returning from combat. More than 58,000 men and women were killed as a result of the war. The Central Coast has more than 17,000 veterans from all conflicts, but each one had their own unique experience while serving. Five decades later, those memories stick with our veterans.
“I have my little mini flashbacks every time I hear a helicopter because I served in the 1st Cav (Cavalry), which was airmobile at the time," said Bart Topham, a Vietnam veteran and the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum Director and President. "Good things and bad things, you know? We all lost friends. Even in a combat situation, when you're on a break or you're sitting around, you're talking about normal things. You're talking about games and books at home and jokes. You're trying to be normal, and that's a common denominator.”
Topham says on a day like this, take a moment of reflection to honor veterans for answering the call of duty, as well as honor the active military for what they continue to do.
“We remember those that gave all, and we honor those who served.”