Saturday, May 27, 2017

Angel Fire Capel Stood Up When No One Else Cared About Vietnam Veterans

Angel Fire chapel honors lives lost in Vietnam
KOB 4 News
Joseph Lynch
May 26, 2017
For some veterans, every day is Memorial Day. Some are haunted by all they've experienced, by who and what they lost. In some wars, they came home as heroes. That was not the case for Vietnam veterans. Many now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. -- U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Victor David Westphal III died in May 1968. After Westphal's death, his parents began the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in Angel Fire.

The chapel was built to be an enduring symbol of the tragedy and futility of war, and it has become a place where people come from near and far to look for peace.

Earl Watters came from Rio Rancho. For him, this place is personal.

"Well, the first thing that comes to mind is all those who lost their lives," he said.

Nearly 60,000 servicemen and servicewomen lost their lives fighting in Vietnam. The memorial in Angel Fire was the first of its kind in the country to honor those Americans.

Allan Ford and his family came from Pensacola, Florida to Angel Fire. He remembers those who gave so much, and especially those who gave everything.

"A lot of my buds, Army buds, were all Vietnam veterans," he said. "They got nothing when they got home, so something like this it's very meaningful to them, very meaningful."

The Angel Fire chapel was created 11 years before the memorial in Washington. But surprisingly, it's only been in recent years folks have come to acknowledge that war. All those years ago, Watters remembers coming back with no welcome home at all.
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