OAK CREEK, Wis. — Roughly a dozen veterans arrived at Oak Creek High School in the back of a tactical vehicle to be recognized for their service in the Vietnam War outside their alma mater, but little did they know, the students and faculty had much more planned for them.
After taking pictures outside the campus, Principal Candice Mungen directed the veterans inside for a parade-like ceremony. The veterans were applauded by all the current students of the school they attended in the 1960’s and 70’s. Mungen said they made this happening by communicating with Stars and Stripes, the organization that facilitates Honor Flights.
“We were contacted by Stars and Stripes, and informed us we had several graduates that were going to take their flight tomorrow. So we worked collaboratively to make this happen,” said Mungen.
The nostalgia was strong among the veterans. Gary Kuhlmeir worked on radar technology during the Vietnam War, and was class president during his time at Oak Creek High School.
“I graduated in 1970. I served on the U.S.S Oriskany. I had a great time in school, I just hope they’re doing better in sports than when we were there.”
While all the veterans were happy to see each other again, some were concerned about the rate of enlistment today. Fewer and fewer people are opting to join the armed forces. Gary Wetzel received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service during Vietnam, and said serving is about more than what’s in the movies.
“You don’t join to pick up a rifle and go shoot ’em up. There are so many different aspects of the military that you can do and use even when you become a civilian. Take the time out of your life, and give something back,” said Wetzel
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