WASHINGTON, D.C. — Preble County Veteran Services took 29 veterans and their families to Washington, D.C. May 16-18. For many of these men and women, this was the first time they ever visited the nation’s capital.
Marvin Deaton served during the Vietnam era. He went into the service in 1965 and left in 1968. He spent 31 months in Germany, where he was put on radar and attended radar school. He eventually took over the radar section for a year.
He wanted to go on the Veteran Services trip because he had never seen Washington, D.C. He wanted to see all of the memorials, but the Korean War Memorial stood out in his memory.
“I enjoyed being around other veterans and getting to know them. I enjoyed that,” he said. “D.C. was a great city. I don’t think I would want to live there, but I loved seeing it. I enjoyed the whole trip.”
Veston R. Kidd served during the Vietnam era as well. He was in the air force for 20 years, as he went in when he was 18 years old. He joined the trip, because he wanted to see all the memorials and interact with fellow veterans. His favorite memorial was the World War II Memorial, because his father was in WWII and talked about it often.
“To see the way the American people have honored the veterans. I think they were done wrong when they came back from Vietnam, and now to see they are accepted for and honored for their service means a lot to me,” he said. “The camaraderie with other veterans was good and I will remember that.”
Roger Hall had one tour in Vietnam for the Marine Corps. He saw the Veteran Service Trip as his last opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and see all of the memorials.
“It was a privilege to visit Washington, D.C. I was looking forward to seeing all of it, the entire package, but I really wanted to see the Vietnam Wall,” he said. “It was a very good trip and a very good weekend. My favorite thing to see was the Lincoln Memorial.
“I also liked seeing the Iwo Jima Memorial, because my dad was in Iwo Jima. I tried to compare his experience to mine. It felt like a piece of my dad was there, because he was right there.”
Randy Call served during the Vietnam era. He was drafted in 1969 and was in the service until 1971. Like the veterans above, he had never been to Washington D.C. before the trip with Veteran Services.
“It was a beautiful trip. I’ve never been to D.C. and that is why we decided to go. I liked the World War II Memorial the best. We did get to help people find names on the Vietnam Wall. That really made me feel good,” he said. “We’re getting older and a lot of us don’t want to drive that far.
“That’s why I never went before now. I’ve always wanted to go, but I got older and decided I didn’t want to drive that far. Too much traffic, and after being there and seeing it, the traffic is unreal. I’m glad we went on the bus. We went with friends we know.
“I finished something on my bucket list with this trip.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH