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Service & Sacrifice: Then and now, memories of a return to Vietnam

“It doesn't matter how long it's been ... You go back, it's going to have an effect on you,” said Ron Kirby, who organized a return trip to Vietnam.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An enemy battle flag, a tour of a rubber tree forest and a military base that has vanished all played into the second part of our conversation with East Tennessee military veterans who made a return trip to Vietnam.

“You think, 'My Lord, it's been 50 years. Are you not over yet?' But it works on you, it does,"  said combat-wounded Ron Kirby who organized that eye-opening visit 5 years ago. "I've always felt like it's been a brotherhood and a sisterhood going back."

WBIR-TV documented their journey in 2017 in a special film, Facing Ghosts: Return to Vietnam.  And recently, we reconnected with a small group from that trip to hear about memories that have stuck with them five years later. 

“I never would have (done) it on my own,” said Bill Batho who credited his wife and fellow veterans with helping him wrestle with the emotions and memories stirred by his return to that war zone.

In this link, you can watch "part one" of our conversation with six veterans from the original group of almost two dozen.

Credit: John Becker
WBIR-TV reconnects with a small group of veterans from that return trip to Vietnam in 2017.

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