The Iowa House today (Monday) honored Iowans who are veterans of the Vietnam War.Representative Jeff Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, says the idea came from the local V-F-W commander in Tipton.”Sometimes the simplest ‘Thank you’ is the most sincere..and sometimes the gratitude that emerges fromt he bottom of our hearts comes later rather than sooner,” Kaufmann says. Kaufmann says it was fitting that members of the “next generation” — the generation that came after those who served in Vietnam — is saying thank you. Kaufmann says he’s sorry there were too few homecomings without controversy when the soldiers came home from Vietnam. Representative Brian Quirk, a Democrat from New Hampton, served in the Army for five years and is currently a member of the V-F-W and American Legion. Quirk says he’s “dismayed” when he hears how Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home. “A little disappointed that it’s taken 30 years for the state of Iowa to say ‘Thank you gentlemen and thank you ladies,'” Quirk says. Representative Jamie Van Fossen, a Republican from Davenport, read a poem written by his Uncle Johnny. Van Fossen says his uncle wrote a short poem in Vietnam. “I think the ladies and gentlemen (who) have been there will understand this,” Van Fossen said, his voice breaking with emotion as he launched into the poem. “When I die, I’ll go to heaven because I spent my time in hell — Vietnam 1968 – ’69.” Senator James Hahn, a Republican from Muscatine, says he hopes the “snubs” the vets endured all those years ago hurt a little less today. About five dozen Vietnam-era veterans were in the House and Senate when Legislators passed resolutions honoring Iowan who served in the Vietnam era. The Vietnam war ended 30 years ago. May 1st through May 7th is Vietnam Veterans Week.
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