Opinions : Column
A Tribute to Veterans: My Grandpa's Service

Donald Hawksworth holding his one year old daughter, Jill Fontes. This picture was taken a few years after he retuned from service, and is currently wearing his military uniform.
November 14, 2011

When most high school students hear the words Veteran's Day they think of either not having to go to school that day or a big fancy parade with floats and bands. In actuality Veteran's Day is not a celebration, but a big thank you to the real life heroes that served and died for our country. And for my grandpa Donald Hawksworth it is a way to remember all the men he served with.

When my Grandpa Hawksworth was drafted into the military, he was a college student and a newlywed. He completed the basic training and was shipped off to Vietnam.

In his one tour of Vietnam my Grandpa served in a town called Vinh Phouk, which was 60 kilometers south of the country's capital Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City.) It was a relatively small city in the heart of Vietnam's agricultural center.

My grandpa and his regiment fought in the forest and rice patty fields near the Makong Deltaa of Southern Vietnam. Their main job throughout the year was to try and bring out the enemy forces into the open.

"Our main job was to go into the timberline and try to flush the Viet Cong out," Hawksworth says. "We saw a lot of combat."

To this day Hawksworth feels that there are certain reasons why Americans need to celebrate this holiday.

"It's because you're honoring the people in uniform," Hawksworth said. "Veterans made lots of sacrifices, and when you celebrate this day you not only celebrate them, you thank their families."

With all the brutality of war many army men saw, my grandpa feels that they deserve a appreciation.

"It's nice when someone asks you if your a veteran and you say yes, and then they thank you for your service," Hawksworth said.

For more information, read Ryan King's Nov. 10 ArtHop column, "Clay Mix exhibit conveys homey atmosphere."

Good point

Posted by "Aaron DeWolf" on April 2, 2012 at 0:02 a.m.

Its interesting to hear a different side of story for Veterans Day. Thanks for the article, Nick!

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