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    Welcome Home: Ike Honors Vietnam War Veterans



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley Estrella 

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)

    Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) joined the nation to commemorate Vietnam War Veterans in Ike’s Five Star Classroom, March 29.
    The event included guest speakers Ike’s Commanding Officer Capt. Kyle Higgins, and Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Gene A. Crozier, who recognize the men and women who served in Vietnam from Feb. 28 ,1961 to May 7, 1975.
    “Today is not about debating the conflict behind the war," said Higgins. "It is about what we accomplished as a nation and how it brought us closer together in the fundamentals of American survival.”
    Higgins said for somebody who puts on the uniform every single day, it puts their life in perspective. He takes particular pride in honoring Vietnam Veterans who served, often with no say in the matter.
    “Most Vietnam Veterans did not volunteer to fight a war for this country, they were told they had to,” said Higgins. “Men were drafted and women supported that effort. It was the first time America got to see what the carnage of war really meant. It took years to see people give a positive response to the sacrifices. It didn’t come right away.”
    The event’s master of ceremonies, Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Eric Winters, said his grandfather was drafted in the Army. He served three years before he was medically discharged from a war-inflicted injury.
    “Many Vietnam Veterans were not received well when they returned home,” said Winters.
    Although his grandfather only served three years, Winters said he gave more in those three years than many people give in their entire careers. His grandfather was filled with tremendous patriotism and love for America even though he lived the rest of his life with a disability.
    Crozier said he even though he did not serve in the Vietnam War, he still respects their efforts because of his own current service, and thinks all Vietnam Veterans deserve more acknowledgement.
    “It is time these war veterans receive the welcome home they should have received 40 years ago,” said Crozier. “On a scale of respect, Vietnam Veterans did not receive the honor they deserved when they came home to the country they protected. We have a responsibility to take care of their legacy. The ceremony on Ike is a catalyst to ensure veterans of The Vietnam War are continually recognized each year.”
    Crozier said this commemoration is not just an event, but an opportunity to commit to an act of service. He said we have an obligation to find those who served in Vietnam and change the landscape in which they have been overlooked in the American patriotic narrative.
    On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, establishing the National Vietnam War Veterans Day as a holiday to be celebrated annually on March 29.
    “There is a great contrast between how World War II Veterans versus Vietnam Veterans were treated,” said Crozier. “We are the custodians of their heritage. I’d like to challenge the new generation of Ike to add another legacy to honor the Vietnam Veterans from this day forward.”



    Date Taken: 03.29.2019
    Date Posted: 03.30.2019 15:18
    Story ID: 316300

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    Welcome Home: Ike Honors Vietnam War Veterans