Vietnam Veterans Reunion offers healing to vets - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Vietnam Veterans Reunion offers healing to vets

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Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News

It’s an event about brotherhood, camaraderie and honor amongst Vietnam War veterans.

The Nebraska Vietnam Veterans reunion began Thursday night with a barbecue and ceremony at Antelope Park.

Veteran Ron Jochum said the attendants have a unique bond, and even if they’ve never met, they’re brothers.

"When you come here you don't have to know each other personally,” he said. “It's the fact that we've all been to the same place, we all consider ourselves brothers.”

He served in the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division.

When he came home, he spent nine months in the hospital healing from injuries.

He said the reunion is a place where even more healing happens.

"Most times people don't talk about it, but when they get amongst their friends and brothers, then the war stories start coming out and it gets, it's just fun– and it's healing,” Jochum said.

Ken Griess, another veteran who has attended the reunion for ten years, said he comes for similar reasons to Jochum.

Friendship and memories.

"You look back and you wouldn't take a million dollars for the memories,” Griess said. “I wouldn't take a million dollars to go back and do it again but it's just something that happened in your life and you're thankful now to be a live and be amongst all these guys.”

This is the 33rd time Vietnam Veterans have had this event.

Thursday night's barbecue and ceremony was just the beginning of a three day long reunion.

This is the second time it's been in Lincoln.

"I've been to Grand Island, Kearney, Norfolk, different places like that and it's been all over the state of Nebraska and it's always welcomed by so many people, Jochum said.

The location, Antelope Park couldn't have been more perfect.

It's home to Lincoln's veterans memorial.

"The garden has been here as a tribute to veterans and individuals who lost their lives or who have served period because it's not a brick of remembrance, it's a brick of honor,” Ron Lechner with the Veterans War Memorial Park said.

They all agree it's so important to have things like this to honor veterans.

"It's our heritage. It started in the civil war, it started way back when men dedicated themselves to save this country and the freedoms that we stand for and I really appreciate the young men who are now volunteering in the ranks that they are, it's amazing."

The weekend will be full of presentations by decorated Vietnam veterans like authors Bill Albracht and Bill Fitts and Agent Orange committee chair Maynard Kaderlik.

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