Friday, November 15, 2013

Vietnam vets get their day in the sun

Vietnam vets get their day in the sun
 Barnstable Patriot
Written by Susan Vaughn
November 15, 2013

Special recognition given to local group on Veterans Day
Susan Vaughn photos LEADING CONTINGENT – The NamVets Association of Cape Cod and the Islands had the largest contingent in the Veterans Day parade Monday.

The Vietnam veterans finally had their day in the sun on a brisk, sunny Veterans Day Monday in Barnstable. They were the largest contingent in the parade that started the annual commemoration in Hyannis, and they were singled out in speeches and two special citations presented by U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Cape and Islands, to the local Vietnam veterans association.

Robert Servidori, president of the NamVets Association of Cape Cod and the Islands, noted how Vietnam veterans experienced hostility and lack of interest by Americans 40 years ago when they returned from the 10-year conflict in Southeast Asia. “Welcome home to Vietnam veterans,” he said during the program before a gathering of several hundred participants and onlookers on the Hyannis Village Green.

As an example of the poor treatment, Keating said Vietnam veterans had to wait until 1979 for veterans' centers to be in place after the end of the war in 1973. “They sought little attention and they deserve a great deal,” he said, noting how “they were a great group who came home and continued their service as civilians.”

The Congressional proclamation gives special recognition of the 50 years since the Vietnam War started and the 40 years since it ended, and the second citation from Keating thanked the Vietnam veterans and cited the 30th anniversary of the Vietnam memorial monument on the Hyannis green.

Servidori said he expects the new the Grace Brain Center at New Seabury in Mashpee that will service all veterans with traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will open in the spring. He noted that one of many federal grants to assist veterans with basic expenses, such as back rent, auto repairs, medical bills and family expenses, began arriving at the Cape office in October.

Keynote speaker U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Deb Schiavi, retired, also noted the effects of PTSD as a life-altering affliction from war wounds that take an enormous toll on families as well. She said one in 10 veterans are disabled by combat injuries, often PTSD, and 50 percent of those with PTSD do not seek treatment, and of those, only half get treatment. Nineteen percent of veterans have traumatic brain injuries, she said.
read more here If you don't believe PTSD and 1978 think again.

While the official end to the Vietnam War was 1973, more died into 1975.