Knoxville Tennessee Chapter 1078 is a tight knit group that meets regularly and volunteers often. Many of the members find a strong bond built on their Vietnam commonalities.
Nearly 20 people, mostly VVA members and their wives, recently traveled to Vietnam to build new memories, and for some, to heal. During their trip, they took tours and went on dinner cruises. The Vietnamese people were very welcoming.
Some of the veterans faced unsettling memories that they had relived in dreams for years. Many were there to see places they’d been many years ago. Some veterans, who served during the Vietnam War but not in the country itself, were able to see places their fellow veterans had seen. But for all, the experience they had in Vietnam was exciting and monumental.
President of Chapter 1078, Don Smith, and his wife were both in attendance on the trip to Vietnam.
“Without a doubt my favorite part of the trip was the impact it had on several of our chapter members… It is a phenomenon I cannot explain, but the trip provided a lot of healing and closure for many and they came back with a completely changed attitude. One of our chapter members even said the nightmares he was having prior to the trip have subsided.”
After coming back from Vietnam the first time, most did not receive big recognition or welcoming parties.
This time, after getting off the plane, other members of the chapter had gathered with balloons and signs to welcome their friends and fellow veterans home. This was a meaningful gesture to the veterans who had not received the same welcome 47 years prior.