Local News

Veterans Reminisce 25 Years After End Of Vietnam War

Posted April 24, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Veterans in Cumberland County plan to mark the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War quietly.

At VFW Post 4542, veterans Jim Jones and Carl Day often sit and talk about the good times they had in Vietnam but never the bad times.

"Some of the things I've seen, you don't want to remember," Day says. "You want it to go away."

Twenty-five years after the end of the War, too many of their bad memories are still alive.

Jones, a retired captain, was one of only 20 soldiers to survive his officers' candidate class of 220. He did have close calls, like the night his empty bed was riddled with bullets. Those bullets missed him, but later that night while in his bunker, he was hit in the leg by shrapnel from a mortal round.

"The concussion blew my fatigue pants off. After that, I immediately opened fire," Jones says. "There was so much dust from the explosion, I don't know if I hit somebody or not."

Jones went back into the field before his injuries even healed, too afraid to stay in an Army hospital for long without any weapons to protect himself. He eventually returned home with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

He watched the fall of Saigon on television. A quarter of a century later, he has no plans to watch now.

"Time will heal anything, and it's pretty well healed now," Jones says.

During his retirement, Jones, 62, has traveled the country with his wife of 40 years.

One place he has never visited isThe Vietnam Veterans Memorialin Washington, D.C. He says he has too many friends there.