Sunday, July 15, 2007
I am happy to report that I have been achieving what I have set out to do in newspaper reporting. One of my goals that I hoped to achieve through journalism was to affect people's lives in a positive way. I feel like I am doing that already even though I have been a full-time reporter for less than a month now. One of the more meaningful stories that I have done (but didn't expect for it to be so meaningful) was about the local Color Guard. These men fought in Vietnam and came back to the USA only to feel shamed and to lose their pride. I had no idea that Vietnam war vets were treated so badly back in the 70s. I never thought about how the backlash against the war would have affected them on such a personal basis. The men that I talked with said that they were even treated poorly by WWII vets. So, when I interviewed them about their role in local parades, at funerals and with helping Iraq and Afghanistan vets, I could hear and feel the pain that they still carry. For most of them, that pain is almost gone or all-gone, but others still carry it with them. They said they were so thankful for the Color Guard because it allowed them to have pride again and to show others that they are indeed proud to be Vietnam vets. These men travel in parades and do marching tricks and gun tricks. You've probably seen a Color Guard or Honor Gaurd in a parade or at a military museum. I felt it a great honor to speak with them. They said that now when they are marching in a parade, they receive 100s of 'thank yous' that bring tears to their eyes. After my story was published in the Freeman and the Enterprise, I got calls from the guys telling me how much they appreciated getting a chance to have their stories told. I just felt honored to be given that chance and I am so thankful for how much they help other vets and care for their families. It feels wonderful to help these men in a little way, but even more wonderful to learn about them.