To the editor,
The National Vietnam Veterans Day was established in 2017. This day is celebrated on the 29th of March each year.
There are many Vietnam veterans in Pulaski County.
“All gave some, but some gave all.”
In all of Pulaski County, only one gave five years of his youth in a place described as a “Time when hell was in session.”
He was Julius Long.
He spent five years as a Prisoner of War (POW).
He returned to Pulaski when the war was over in 1973.
He was captured on Mother’s Day in 1968 when he was 19 years old.
Let that sink in.
He was not captured immediately when the Special Force Camp he was re-enforcing was overrun. He escaped and evaded the enemy for three days. On the third day, hungry and at his wits end, he saw an American jeep coming down the road. He jumped out of the jungle, but to his dismay it was driven by the enemy. However, he “sucked it up,” and was not shot.
He was taken to a local POW camp where the only American doctor in captivity was being held. He proved to be a lifesaver for Julius. This ordeal is outlined in the book, “Why Did You Not Get Me Out.”
From that camp, Long was forced to walk 600 miles to Hanoi. There he remained in that hell until the prisoners were released in 1973.
It has been over 50 years since we as a country have shown our appreciation for the young men who served our country’s colors so honorably in a war that was not understood or appreciated. More than 58,230 died and 153,303 were wounded. The “Vietnam Syndrome” lingers on. The long arm of Agent Orange and other maladies still ravish our veterans.
Julius, like the other KIA, WIA and POW were in “the flower of their youth.” For this reason, I would like to see Pulaski County designate the 29th of March as “Julius Long Day.”
Plato was right, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” But we as a country can honor Julius for giving us his youth so that we may live free.