Monday, January 24, 2022

(Courtesy of YIOT) Last week, the Young Israel of Teaneck was honored to welcome two Vietnam War veterans to speak to the middle schoolers and high schoolers in honor of Veterans Day. They shared their life experiences before and during the war and discussed how life was very different afterwards.

We were fascinated to hear the vets share their experiences joining the Marine Corps. One vet signed up on his own, as was his dream since he was a child. The other vet said that he knew he was going to be drafted, and described what he did once he was drafted. They shared the challenges of returning from war with a bitter welcome home. One of the vets explained how he changed into civilian clothes upon his return in the airport to avoid the war protestors. They both described how their experience in the war shaped their career path and influenced their outlook on life.

One of the vets’ daughters, Karen, shared her experience growing up with a father who suffered from PTSD from fighting, and how his exposure to Agent Orange changed him physically and mentally for the rest of his life. She also described how her parents met three times before her father was drafted into the army, yet, they maintained their relationship through handwritten letters. Shortly after his return two years later they got engaged, then married and raised a family together.

After hearing the experiences from the veterans, we all developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for all of those people who fight for America. We also developed a deeper appreciation for the liberty and freedom we enjoy here, because of the sacrifices of our war veterans.

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