Operation Oklahoma Salutes Vietnam Veterans

Friday, July 2nd 2010, 6:38 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Governor Henry proclaimed 2010 as the Year of the Vietnam Veteran.

"Operation Oklahoma: Our Salute to Vietnam Veterans" was an emotional celebration of highs and lows for veterans and their families at Chapman Stadium on the University of Tulsa campus Friday night.

"My wife she was eight months pregnant when I went to Vietnam," said James Hinds. "So I didn't get to see my first son 'til he was nine-months-old,"

"It was a time when you'd like for your husband, the father of the baby, to be here," Brenda Hinds said.

The Oklahoma National Guard is honoring those who have served and currently serve in the military over the Fourth of July weekend. For some it brings back vivid memories, almost too real to put into words.

"What a lot of people don't realize is that the United States wouldn't be where it is today without the veterans," one man said.

The event featured military displays and artillery pieces like humvee's, guns, tanks and even a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It can carry 50,000 pounds and carry a crew of 33.

Vietnam Veteran Command Chief Warrant Officer Paul Merchant, who is still active in the military, said talking about the war is emotional for all veterans.

"The significance of the Governor having this as the year of the Vietnam vet, it allows the community to connect with all of those things," Merchant said. "So it's important."

"One of the greatest things you can do for a veteran is tell him thank you, and welcome home," one man said.