A Missouri Vietnam veteran who recently reunited with the members of his old army unit was the keynote speaker at today’s Veteran’s Day event in Des Moines. Allen “K-C” Allcock was a helicopter pilot in the Fourth U.S. Air Calvary — going to Vietnam as a 20-year-old in 1970. Until just recently Allcock didn’t want to acknowledge his role in the war. He says he felt for 22 years that he’d been scoffed at, missed opportunities of employment, and was irritated about the outcome of Vietnam. He says he also remembered those who’d died and asked, “Why am I Living?” Allcock says he changed his attitude after being badgered into attending a reunion of his company in Georgia. He says he decided he needed to embrace his fellow veterans.He says it’s important to seek out those who have the same experiences, but he says Vietnam veterans were afraid to move out of the framework of being shunned to find somebody else. Allcock says veterans have a special perspective on life that many Americans don’t have. He says the Vietnam veterans memorial in Clinton, Iowa sums it up with an inscription that says, “For those who’ve had to fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know.” Allcock says there are many who don’t know what it’s like to fight for it, “because veterans have handed to them on a silver platter.” But he says thank goodness veterans have provided us the platter. But Allcock says Americans haven’t let their protected status be a blinder to the problems of others.He says in America we have the flexibility to respond to anything that comes. And he says even though we may be a “protected people,” we are also a responsible people and a helping people to all the nations throughout the world. Allcock says veterans come together to share a common bond, and he says they also never forget those who were left behind. He says as he saw the wall in Washington, D.C. he is ashamed that we did not do more to recover our prisoners of war in Vietnam. Allcock left the veterans with this thought.He says the trails of veterans have blazed new paths and hold much promise for the future generation. He says when he thinks about those who have fallen, he is sad. But he says that guy who fell for me would want me to be happy, because that’s why he fell. Two Iowans, Fred Reese of Bronson and Tom Fluharty of Brighton served with Allcock in Vietnam.
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