SUPLHUR SPRINGS, Texas (KETK) – For this Veterans Day, hundreds of Sulphur Springs students and staff gathered in their gym.
Prepared to honor our heroes, among them was Vietnam veteran, Tommy Allison.
“I guess I’m pleased that they asked me as a veteran to come back and participate,” said Allison.
Allison fought in Vietnam for more than a year. When the war was over, Allison expected to come home to a grateful nation, but he got the opposite.
“People just flat weren’t very nice. They didn’t like war and for some reason because you were over there regardless of whether you had to take orders they didn’t like you,” Allison said.
As time went on the stigma behind Vietnam got better, the impact aspects of the war had on Allison’s body though got worse.
“Noticed some problems with my hands grip and my walking and that type of thing,” Allison said.
The effects of “agent orange”, a chemical widely known for its use by the military, left Allison with peripheral nueropathy.
“Agent orange got into the water supply and that’s where, everybody go their water from streams like that,” Allison said.
He’s grateful to be alive to tell the younger generation, the sacrifices he and others made for the freedoms we have today.
People like Sulphur Springs high schooler Beau Bankston, who recently helped set up “The Wall That Heals”, a traveling tribute of the Vietnam memorial, which helped open his eyes and get more of an appreciation for veterans.
“When we were setting it up it was freezing it was raining and I kept thinking to myself I’m cold and I’m miserable and every single person on that wall went through worse that what I did, and so I can spend a day honoring them,” Bankston said.
For Allison the phrase “thank you for your service” means much more than you can ever know.
“Day in and day out nobody knows whether you’re veteran or not unless you have something on that shows say you are and it’s just great a good feeling that they appreciate the time you spent in the service,” he said.