The reception Robin O’Brien received coming home from Vietnam in 1967 is like a scar that never fully fades away.
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Veterans Day at Atlanta History Center
- Veterans Park ceremony: 11-11:30 a.m. Monday. Includes patriotic music, raising of U.S. and POW flags, singing of the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and a presentation of wreaths by veterans to honor those who have served, or serve, in the armed forces. Free.
- “Stories of Sacrifice: Listening to America’s Veterans”: 7 p.m. Monday (reception at 6 p.m.). Free. RSVPs requested: 404-814-4150 or www.AtlantaHistoryCenter.com/VeteransVoices.
On Veterans Day, active and retired military and up to five members of their families will receive free admission to the Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com.
ANOTHER CHANCE TO HEAR VETERANS
Callanwolde Fine Arts Center and the Southern Order of Storytelling will present a veterans storytelling event from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at the DeKalb County arts center.
The second annual “Veterans Expressing Their Stories” program will include veterans from all branches of service over seven decades sharing their experiences through storytelling. The program will also include patriotic songs and displays of veteran uniforms.
Free. 980 Briarcliff Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-872-5338, www.callanwolde.org.
IN A VETERAN’S OWN WORDS
The late Lewis Conn was a light tank crewman in the segregated 784th Tank Battalion, 3rd Army, which fought in the European Theater during World War II. Among other topics in his Veterans History Project interview, Conn, who died in 2010, described the frustration endured by black soldiers due to segregation. The battalion was recognized with a Medal of Valor presented by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
“I can remember very vividly when we got to Fort Hood (Texas, for training), which destroyed my mind. I can never forget it. ‘Cause at that time see, we’d been fighting with the Germans, so they had captured a lot of German (POWs) … And they brought them back to the United States (and had them working in various camps) …
“And I can remember in Fort Hood that we couldn’t even go to a movie picture, whatever it was, we had to go to our segregated movie theater. But the German POWs could go with the white soldiers and participate with them. And here we was goin’ to fight them and train to fight them, but here they had more privilege than I did.
“It tore us up. And we had a lot of young men they put in prison cause a lot of them walked off and said, ‘You just have to get me. ‘Cause you tell me that I’m looking at these POWs, and we’re going over to fight them. And still you won’t give me …’
“You had to be very strong in order to be fighting for your country and you’re seeing this situation.”