DILLSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A flag that had not been flown since Sept. 11, 2001, flew once more on Friday night to honor Vietnam veterans.
“I was a kid. I was just having a good time, but you know, I got the call. So I went,” says Al Phipps, VFW Dillsburg Riders President.
Phipps was 19 and recently married when he was sent off to Vietnam for two years.
“When we were to land, it was under attack. It looked like the Fourth of July, and I thought, ‘Sheesh, I’ll never get out of this place,’ but I did,” Phipps recalled.
Veterans like Phipps were honored by a salute from Northern York High School and a flyover from the Liberty Warbirds, who fly over events to give Vietnam vets a reminiscent nod to the past.
“For the longest time when I came back, I could still hear [the Warbird] they have a very distinct sound,” Phipps recollected.
The warm welcomes were a good change of pace for Phipps. He remembers clearly how much disdain was directed towards him and other Vietnam soldiers when he first came home.
“It was kind of disheartening. You know, you think, ‘Well hey, I did this for my country, and do you have any idea what I put up with for two years?'” Phipps said.
“That’s why you have so many problems today — they suppressed it for 40, 50 years,” said David Jones, director of quality control, Liberty Warbirds.
On Friday, they let it all out loudly and proudly. Looking onto the crowd of now cheers, Phipps has one wish.
“Remember this. Remember what we did…for our country,” he said.