By Tim Unruh
July 3, 2016
“For 48 years at night in my dreams, I see the eyes of my enemy,” said Sammy Davis, who received a Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam. “Now I still see eyes, but they’re the eyes of the gentlemen I broke bread with. They’re not mean eyes, but they’re friendly eyes, and they’re helping to sooth my soul.”Emotions peaked leading up to the day two old soldiers returned to the scene of a horrific battle, this time with their wives.
But a calm settled over Salinans Jim and Rita Deister and Sammy and Dixie Davis, of Freedom, Ind., once they found the spot at Fire Base Cudgel in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam, where Sammy had pulled a near-dead Jim to safety. Healing occurred where their blood had spilled nearly 49 years ago.
“I looked out to the east, over the rice paddies, and I could almost visualize the North Vietnamese army and Viet Cong charging across them,” Jim Deister recalled. Because he is severely hearing impaired from his injuries, the interview was conducted by email. “That night in November (1967), they looked like an ant pile that had been disturbed. It almost sent shivers up my back.”
The U.S. Army veterans met face to face with some of their former North Vietnamese enemy and eventually bonded.
Old wounds did open, Sammy Davis said, “but I think they’ll heal instead of just scab over.” As a busy speaker who is on the road more than 200 days a year, who also counsels young war veterans, the experience with former foes was priceless.
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If you want to know about what Sammy went through, I interviewed him back in 2012.
At the Orlando Nam Knights fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor hero Sammy Davis talked to me about what it was like coming home after all he'd been through. It is a story few have heard before. As Sammy put it, it is one of the reasons no other veteran will ever come home treated like that again.Sammy and Dixie also had a message for families living with PTSD.
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.