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Vietnam veteran tells his story
PENSACOLA - For those who've served our country, Veterans Day can stir up some strong emotions and vivid memories. A Vietnam War veteran who took part in the Veterans Day parade in Downtown Pensacola spoke with us about some of his experiences.
"There was a lot of fear in it," said Henry Lee.
It's been nearly 50 years since he fought in Vietnam, but the former paratrooper remembers the feeling of being in a war zone clearly.
"You never knew when you were gonna step on a mine or booby trap," Lee said, "Or when you was gonna be shot or get engaged into a skirmish or a battle."
Lee spoke with us while standing next to Wall South, a memorial that bears the name of troops who died in combat in Vietnam. Some of them were Lee's friends.
When asked what his thoughts are about them today, he said, "Well, it's just remembering' 'em...It's a sad feeling that come over. In fact, I'm probably feeling it now. But that's just part of life. It never goes away."
Lee rode his motorcycle with a group of other veterans, young and old, in the annual parade in downtown Pensacola.
To the question of whether he thinks veterans are being treated fairly today, Lee answered, "I think they are. They're treated today a lot better than we were when we came back. Everybody knows the way Vietnam veterans were treated when we came back. We were shunned by the country, called baby killers and everything else."
Lee says he's happy that more veterans are now being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, which he suffers from himself. He says, for troops, one of the toughest parts of serving is coming home.
"When they come out then he or she finds out they're having nightmares, recurring nightmares," Lee said, "And then they're having dreams about different thinks that happened to 'em that's traumatic and this is something that most of the veterans are going through. It changes your whole life."