LUBBOCK, Texas — The Veterans of Foreign Wars said they are putting out a request for all U.S. Vietnam veterans to return any Vietnamese memorabilia brought home from the war.
According to the VFW, the hope is that the returned items can help account for the estimated 300,000 Vietnamese still missing from the war.
Stephen Maxner, Director of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech, said humanity is at the heart of this effort.
“We were mortal enemies then, but we’re not mortal enemies now,” Maxner said. “We know that your families hurt just as much as our families hurt, and we want to help you have closure from that experience so we can move forward together.”
However, one Vietnam veteran, Frank Gutierrez said collecting mementos was the last thing on his mind during the war.
“I was more concerned about surviving and getting out of there,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said he lost a lot of his friends during the war, but he felt a calling to serve upon hearing one message.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” Gutierrez said.