HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – On this 50th anniversary of the start of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, a dozen Holyoke Soldiers residents who fought in that war were saluted Saturday during a program arranged by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Debbie Windolowski told 22News, “Having it here at the home, there are 68 Vietnam veterans here at the home, it just seemed like the most appropriate place to hold it here. The veterans who don’t get around can be here to enjoy the program.”
The dozens of Vietnam veterans who live at the Soldiers Home were deeply touched by the concern shown them and the honors bestowed on them. But Vietnam veterans like Lenny Desrochers of Granby can never erase the earlier disrespect they endured from their memories.
Desrochers said, “When I came home from Vietnam I was pretty well decorated; I had 3 Purple Hearts, Cross for Gallantry, so the more medals you had the more protesting they did at the airport in California where we came home.”
Western Mass. President of Vietnam Veterans of America Delfo Barabani said, “When we came back home everybody knows it was not exactly a welcome situation. I think it really changed at the time of the present situation.”
And on this occasion the Daughters of the American Revolution along with the Holyoke Soldiers Home staff, added a degree of comfort for Vietnam veterans to help ease the pain from their rude welcome long ago.