State leaders are working to honor Mississippi’s veterans who fought in Vietnam.
“When I went to Vietnam and returned home, we didn’t get the respect or the decency that I figured we deserved.“
That’s Lee Perry, one of the 65-thousand Mississippians who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. Since its end, many of the nation’s Vietnam veterans have expressed disdain for the way they were treated upon their return to the states.
Stories abound of veterans who were both literally and figuratively spit upon. Others talk about changing out of their uniform in the airport so that no one knew they were on their way home.
But over the decades, Lee says sentiments have changed.
“The country, now, is coming around for us, old veterans. I appreciate it.”
To mark the 50th anniversary of the height of the war, state leaders are looking to fund the publication of a book that commemorates those that served. The gift would then be given to all state’s living Vietnam Veterans.
Randy Reeves is the Executive Director of the state Veteran’s Affairs Board.
Lee Perry says the gift would in a small way thank veterans for their service.
“You can’t ever really make-up for a wrong, but what we can do is we can recognize that we didn’t do what we should have as a nation and we can do the right thing these veterans.”
The book will be funded through a public-private partnership. Lawmakers have already appropriated 125-thousand dollars for the project.