LETTER: A Salute to a Local Vet on Vietnam War Veterans Day

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Dear Watertown Residents,

Today, March 29, is Vietnam War Veterans Day. I was informed of this by Tony Kelley last night at the Watertown Town Democratic Committee meeting. Tony is a veteran of the war and luckily came home to build a career and family in Watertown. As a teacher and volunteer for several causes, he has done right by this community in so many ways and continues to do so in his retirement. Bravo! His ask was that people say “Welcome Home” if they see a Vietnam Veteran today. Many have never heard that expression to this day.

As the granddaughter of a Russian POW, forced into conscription by the fascist Italian government of WWII, I know from my mother what my grandfather experienced upon his return to “normal” life. At my age, I now have peers who have served in various wars going back to the 1990s. Unfortunately, we all know someone. We should take Tony’s ask seriously. We can also do things like support bills that give more public money to the VA System or expand the use of psychedelics with mental health counselors which has shown tremendous promise in treatment of PTSD.

I also write to alert people to the Poppy Social at the Commander’s Mansion on Friday, May 24th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I thought Tony knew about it since it was in the Watertown News and elsewhere. He didn’t. Veteran Services, please advertise more. It is open to the public and here is the website: https://www.commandersmansion.com/bricks

Tony, enjoy Italy and we will see you when you get home!

Rita Colafella
Cuba Street, Watertown Precinct C-9

3 thoughts on “LETTER: A Salute to a Local Vet on Vietnam War Veterans Day

  1. I’m old enough to remember the Vietnam generation. In the 70’s, I dated a Vietnam vet who was damaged by that war. Our country seems to have forgotten them, I suppose because our involvement in Vietnam is now perceived as a mistake. But Vietnam veterans simply did their duty (unlike some who avoided service, such as an orange person we can all think of).

    Welcome home, Tony!! (I know people didn’t say that at the time)

    And thank you for writing this remembrance, Rita. I intend to come to the Poppy Social to honor the veterans in my own family.

    • When one is conscripted, one doesn’t have much choice. People can do a things for them now though. I may attend depending on my schedule.

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