Alexandria, VA– On March 26, 2022, to a standing-room-only clubroom filled with veterans, friends, and family, Old Town Alexandria American Legion Post 24 celebrated Vietnam-era veterans including a special living legend- Red Daniels. The Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event was to honor military servicemen and women who served in the armed forces during this era. According to a Census Bureau report on veterans, the largest living group of veterans are those who served during the Vietnam era. The Vietnam Veterans Recognition Act, which was passed as public law on March 28, 2017, designated March 29th of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The date also signifies when the last combat troops left Vietnam. Across the country, ceremonies have been held to commemorate these veterans and to honor them since many never received an official welcome home like veterans of other foreign wars.
While being hailed a living legend, Red vehemently insisted, “I am not a living legend, I am a survivor.” While speaking of his harrowing experience as a POW, Mr. Daniels informed the attendees that he was tortured along with 20 other men. He experienced electric shock torture, seven days and nights with no sleep, and was beaten for information that he didn’t have. He also revealed that after Ho Chi Minh died there was no more torture. Mr. Daniels shared that he had, “Absolute blind faith that the USA would come to get me.” While describing his experience he also admonished politics in America by saying, “The nation is divided right down the middle, politics has gotten in the way. His advice was for people to think as Americans and not as Republicans or Democrats and that the American Legion can help with political bickering.
During the event several other veterans were presented with certificates. Among them was U.S Navy veteran Donna Reuss who served during the era and was a linguist in Germany. When asked about her desire for younger servicemen and women joining the American Legion she stated, “There are so many benefits in joining the group along with mentorship and the opportunity to be involved with a group that is worldwide. Younger men and women can be members of other veterans’ organizations and still join the American Legion.”
For more information about joining the American Legion and how you can volunteer in other ways be sure to click the link below.