Historical event set for May 20-21
By Robert Cloud
Gordon Meyer, a local veteran and member of Waupaca VFW Post 1037, believes history, no matter how unpleasant, offers lessons.
“It wasn’t always positive in many people’s eyes, but the Vietnam era to me is a very important part of history that should be remembered,” Meyer said.
To help share that history, Meyer is among area volunteers organizing an event later this month.
Local VFW members and the Waupaca Area Historical Society will present “Remembering the Vietnam War” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, at the Waupaca Railroad Depot.
Meyer encourages Vietnam veterans and their families to participate in the event by sharing their personal stories.
A Moment of Rememberence will be held at 1 p.m. both days, followed by a panel of four to five people who will answer questions and speak about their experiences.
Meyer is also seeking Vietnam era memorabilia to display in the depot. Uniforms, gear and photos are welcome, but weapons are discouraged.
“We don’t want weapons on display for security reasons,” Meyer said.
Re-enactors of the 101st Airborne Division living history unit will also be at the weekend event.
“They will set up a complete camp with everything that they may have had in Vietnam,” Meyer said.
Snacks and drinks will also be available.
Meyer recalled watching events on the homefront during the war and its aftermath as a young child.
“I saw how it affected veterans,” Meyer said.
Meyer graduated from Iola-Scandinavia High School in 1990 and then enlisted in the Navy.
In 1994, Meyer was aboard the USS Inchon, an amphibious assault vessel that provided Black Hawk and gunship air support to Marines in Somalia.
“After seeing two wars in four years, I decided to come home because I felt very fortunate that I had made it,” Meyer said. “The day we moored at Norfolk is the day I came back to Waupaca.”
Meyer said the VFW gives veterans an opportunity to be with those who shared similar experiences.
He also noted that the number of combat veterans who are currently eligible to join the VFW is the highest since World War II.
“I joined in 1990 and it seems we’ve been at war every six months to a year ever since,” Meyer said.