For the last week or so we’ve been overwhelmed with running the resort and planning for our big project. As we prepared over last weekend for our the final week of a “full” resort we were feeling tired and wishing we could just close up shop and get on with construction. The group we were preparing for are members of the Wolfhounds – men who served in the 2/27 Wolfhounds C Company 2nd platoon. They are Vietnam veterans who come together every other year in our area for a week of Minnesota fishing, fellowship, a lot of laughs and a ton of tears. They spent several days this last week at Wildwood and I can’t tell you what a loss that would have been for us to not have had the chance to welcome them…they are amazing men full of courage and our acquaintence with them is a gift.
Yesterday Jay and I sat with this group of gentlemen as they took several hours to discuss the history of their reunions with our local newspaper. We were struck by the great tragedy that the Vietnam war was for the men and women who served. The atrocities they saw and the ones they perpetrated during an act of war have scarred them. They all described coming home not as heros but as enemies of America. They were spit on in the airports on their travels home and treated as pariah on the airplanes. One described being in a fire-fight in the jungle one day and then just 48 hours later he found himself home in the states at a family party in his honor. There was no debriefing and no one to understand the horrors in his head. They had spent a year or more in the jungle fighting as ordered by the American military with no idea that sentiment toward them at home had changed for the worse. They were ill-prepared for re-entry into “normal” life and learned quickly that their service was to be hidden – a disgraceful part of their lives never to be discussed. So they lived with the images of the dead and the dying their heads for decades. Many have had multiple marriages and struggles with addiction. Most say that their wives and children had no idea what they had been through and sometimes not even that they had served at all. But for these Wolfhounds that changed when one member of this group began to seek them out. What began as a mission by one man to find the men with whom he fought has grown into source of healing for them all. Since 2004 they have reunited regularly and to a man they discuss the healing power present in the acknowledgement of demons long buried and in the bond of their brotherhood.
They told us they aren’t heros – that their only goal was to save the man to their left and to their right. But we know differently. These men (and all who have served in our military) are heros in every sense of the word and I won’t forget that fact as long as I live.
Here is the article our local paper did on The Wolfhounds visit to Grand Rapids last week. And For more information on this amazing group of men visit their website at: http://www.wolfhounds2nd27th.org/. You can also find a two-part story about these men told by John Quintell to a Helena newspaper earlier this year.
Have a great week!
Kim & Jay