The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers.

The American-News welcomes letters of opinion from our readers. Letters regarding current local and national news items are encouraged. All letters are subject to editing for length and style. Letters containing potentially libelous or obscene statements will not be published. Letters must contain name, address and phone number for verification and in case of questions. E-mail letters to: Letters may also be mailed to:  Editor, Montevideo Publishing, P.O. Box 99, Montevideo, MN 56265

A big thank you

It was nice to see all the veterans and families at the American Legion recently. We were all overwhelmed with generosity of Sgt. Williams family. I am a Marine Corps veteran who served in South Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. Now, due to my service there I am suffering from the effects of Agent Orange exposure.

  Are you a Vietnam veteran? One thing that we all have in common is that we have all crossed the International Date Line twice, going and returning from Vietnam. To be considered by the US government to be a veteran you must have served a minimum of 181 days in the military. To be considered a Vietnam veteran you must have either served on the ground in Vietnam or the adjacent waters. In country tours for Marines was 13 months, that got to be a very long time away from families. What Vietnam veterans all have in common is that we all got to ride in the “Big Freedom Bird,” a Boeing 720 that hauled us out of Vietnam, with 165 Marines standing on top of the seats screaming and hollering, then as if on cue, everything became extremely quiet for the five hour flight to the island of Okinawa for further transfer to California.

  Are you a Vietnam in country or adjacent waters veteran? If not, why would you want to stand up next to us on a special occasion? I would never go to a military reunion that I wasn’t a part of.

Yes we are a special group of those who were willing to go fight in Vietnam with a good possibility of not returning or being flown home in an Air Force medical evacuation flight. It was troubling when I learned that a Marine who was one of the 165 on the flight over was dead. A Sgt. in charge of our training before going to survived only three months, then his body was sent to his mother in PA. I called a fellow Marine I was with in Vietnam. He was a state trooper in Louisiana and Agent Orange had caused him to have a lot of cancer of the digestive systems and he didn’t think he would make retirement. This is common for “in country veterans” to not make retirement. I gave up a job with the State of Minnesota at age 53 with many Agent Orange issues. Thank you for all people involved in this nursing home project and a big thank you for everyone attending and supporting veterans.

  When Vietnam veterans were asked to stand under Sgt. Williams banner, I felt, and so did other Vietnam vets, that many standing had never been to Vietnam.

  I would like to thank all the people involved in all the hard work over the past 10 years to make this nursing home a reality. The present VA clinic and now a nursing home will put Montevideo on the map. Thanks to all attending and honoring our veterans.

—Lynn Hagen