Vietnam vet receives hero's welcome - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Vietnam vet receives hero's welcome

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Bob Whitaker received the welcome home he had never experienced when returning from an Honor Flight Bob Whitaker received the welcome home he had never experienced when returning from an Honor Flight

From July 1966 to July 1967, Bob Whitaker was serving our country in Vietnam.  Bob was awarded three Purple Hearts for his time, but when he came home after his service was up, there wasn't much of a party waiting for him.

"When he came home it was my parents, and his mother, and her our Bob, and me, five of us," said Lorene Whitaker, Bob's wife.  "We had a little party at home for him, but a hero's welcome he didn't have."

And as Bob explains it, that's often just the way it was for those coming back from Vietnam.

"Back in those days you came home and passed someone on the street a few days later, and then say 'haven't seen you for a while, where have you been,' it's just like nobody knew, or most people didn't care at that time," Whitaker said.

So his family and friends decided to surprise him at the airport after he went on an Honor Flight to see the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.  They wanted to give him the welcome home he didn't get, alongside dozens of other families doing the same thing.

"I wasn't expecting what I saw when I got there; I thought it was going to be our family waiting for him to get off the plane, but they had hundreds and hundreds of people, they had things going on before they got there, very impressive," said Deven Whitaker, Bob's son.

And as for general feelings towards veterans, Bob hopes that veterans today receive the thanks they deserve.

"Hopefully this Vietnam experience change the public's view with these young people," Whitaker said.  "Yesterday I had an Afghanistan veteran that was my guide, and there he was, honoring me and this young man served in Afghanistan - I wanted to honor him and thank him."

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