My name is Joseph Murray and I live near Jefferson, Iowa. I enlisted in the United States Air Force at the age of 17 in 1962 with my parents permission. I spent four years of active duty and was honorably discharged in July of 1966. Let's just say that the welcome home parties were few and far between for Vietnam veterans.
I read Rick and Virginia Johnson's Sunday article in the Des Moines Register several times and I was amazed how many strong emotions that article evoked from me. I had thought that those sad memories were satisfactorily suppressed - not so! I decided to attend the event and
if nothing else I would do it to honor the Veterans that did not make it back.
Your entire town and all members should be very proud of what happened on Saturday Sept. 28 .
That day will live in infamy for the memories of the Vietnam veterans that attended that parade. I talked with several and every one of them could not believe what they witnessed as we walked those 11 blocks. I saw tears running down the cheeks of veterans - including mine. I saw young kids applauding, all ethnic groups applauding, I saw signs, I saw and heard cheers and salutes. You have no idea what effect that had on our psyches. I doubt if you can put a true value on that.
So, Marshalltown - stand tall and remember what you did on Sept. 28 went a lot farther than just a parade - you helped heal some very bitter memories of patriots and warriors who fought to preserve your right to protest. Thank you for remembering us!