Vietnam Veteran Finally Recognized For His Service

Thursday, September 13th 2007, 8:27 pm
By: News On 6

President Bush addresses the nation shortly on Iraq on Thursday. In prepared remarks, the president orders gradual U.S. troop reductions and says more forces can come home as progress is made. Here in Oklahoma a local veteran is weighing in on the troop withdrawal and the situation in Iraq. Jim Bell is the Oklahoma Veteran of the Month for September. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports Jim has a vested interest in every move President Bush makes.

Jim Bell just received his official certificate Tuesday, but already he's had it framed for his living room wall. Bell is Oklahoma's Veteran of the Month.

"It really surprised me," Vietnam veteran Jim Bell said.

His certificate is signed by Governor Henry and the man who awarded it to him, State Representative Eric Proctor.

"I'm just very grateful to know somebody like Mr. Bell," State Representative Eric Proctor said.

Bell was drafted and served in the Vietnam War in 1968 as a radio operator. He fought in a couple of brutal battles, including the Tet Offensive, but as Representative Proctor discovered at a neighborhood meeting, Bell hadn't been thanked for his service in more than 30 years.

"I mean that tears at your heart, and to hear that his son's over in Iraq right now and he's never been thanked. We owe our veterans better," said Proctor.

That's right, his son, Jeremy, is also serving the country in Iraq. That’s why Bell is very interested in President Bush's decisions. He says he never liked the original decision that ultimately sent his son to war.

"A lot of them are having a hard time and they've extended them to the max over there and that's not good,” said Bell. “So I'm just concerned about his welfare."

His son's welfare in Iraq, and his welfare when he comes home, leaves Bell torn on the troop withdrawal issue. It upsets him to think of the public's perception of Iraq veterans if they come home and don't win, not unlike his war, Vietnam.

"Yeah, I'd like the troops to come home, but I'd also like to see them do what America's Army is supposed to do, and win,” said Bell . “I mean, I don't know, let them have their victory."

Representative Proctor encourages everyone to thank our veterans.

Watch the video: Vietnam Veteran Honored For His Service