It was 1969, Valley Forge Army Hospital . The acronym, VFGH, people used to joke about it saying very few go home, but it was really a very good hospital. (long pause)...
Again, I'm being congratulated, and um receiving another silver star by a major general in the um Dental Corp, very remote from combat, this general, I must say, but he came to my room. However, before the general came to my room, here to congratulate me, they made me take down all my get-well cards, and everything but the American flag over my bed.
So, that was the later portion of 1969, at Valley Forge General Hospital. (pause) Here in this picture, five gallant soldiers, many of them with canes, with partial faces, and injuries, and it's at Valley Forge General Hospital, again, I'm getting healthier, I'm now in the parade field, and I'm just about ready to receive at this time another silver star, an air medal for twenty five combat assaults from a helicopter and three more purple hearts. (pause)...
This was right after that ceremony. I'm wearing the combat infantryman's badge for being under combat for thirty days, and being fired upon by the enemy. The, um, also the um jump wings for being a paratrooper, and the medals, the purple hearts, and the air medal, and Silver Star. My wife, Peggy, the sign of the times there, the short mini dresses, um, is right beside me there.
Right after that I was promoted to the rank of Captain, and I still wasn't old enough to drink, as I mentioned, (snickers) in the United States. In some of the states in the United States, (pause) This picture is very unique. Most people in America, and most Vietnam veterans don't know it exists.
President Carter during that time that I gave a little speech, he was there to commemorate this plaque. Uh, I think he was so frazzled by my little speech there, he ended upset the tempo of the day. He started walking off the stage before he commemorated the plaque, and he had to be told by one of his subordinates that uh, that's the reason he was there that day.
This plaque is in Arlington National Cemetery, and that's my little boy in the picture, and his name is David, also. And, uh, I would like for him to serve this country some day, but I want his country to realize his service and how important it is and and that one thing that we learned from Vietnam, and that is if we're going to send our kids to another war, commit our kids ever again to war, the nation must be committed before that, and I so treasure my freedoms, so treasure my son.
And this picture demonstrates both my patriotism and my love of family. (pause) This is Max Cleland and myself, uh, in this picture, and Guy McMichaels, um, this is during the Carter Administration years. Max was the head of the Veterans Administration, after Max's departure with President Carter, I was offered to head up the Veterans Administration. Um, Max was a gallant person in his own way.
I'd asked him to use his position and highlight, and he could do so much for the Vietnam Veterans. In his own way I think he did very, I think he did quite a bit. I felt that he could have done more. When we were there as players to help with the problems of Vietnam veterans, and I won't criticize a fellow the Vietnam veteran. (pause, breathes deeply) That's a picture of myself, um, with many of my decorations for valor and service to my country and honor, and it's a very proud picture, um, my dress blue uniform, my captain bars on.
That was taken within the last year to demonstrate um (whew) what a combat soldier looks like and the valor looks much like Hollywood
, um. But there's a severe price that one has to pay for all those medals and for that uniform and for combat. And that's what I want America to understand, the price of those medals.
This here is a small example, it's a recent picture of my badge of honor and the scars that I carry for the rest of my life. Most wounded veterans will be prisoners of the Vietnam War for the rest of their lives, or for whatever war they come from, and this is the price that often times is paid by a combatant. He must be, usually, um, shot, wounded, stabbed, in my situation, I was shot, hit with shrap metal, stabbed and burnt with napalm and that ended my military career. (breathes)...
It's a picture of myself and my brother, I have the white hat on, um, I was considered the physical casualty of the Vietnam war and my wounds were clearly visible, they were evident, whether the wounds would be gun shot wounds, or, even the parasite wound melioidosis I had diagnosed in 1969, and they thought that was going to kill me along with my burns. My brother has again, those hidden injuries, and he served four years in Vietnam with chemical warfare. It's a great case study.
Douglas suffers from all the clear symptoms of, that are affiliated with agenong and dioxin. And Doug's about six foot one and weighs between a hundred fifteen, a hundred twenty pounds, has growths all over his body that he applies black salve to. Douglas is only two years older than myself, and um, his mother would have been proud of him.
Douglas um, looks like he is dying very rapidly, aging very rapidly, if not dying, and um, I just wish America would do something. If it was their brother, or their father, or their son, for every politician in Washington
, I'm sure they would do something. (pause)