CHS students honor veterans at the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Students at Charlottesville High School are learning what it means to serve their country, right from the source. Veterans share their stories and, they say, it’s healing.

“It hurts a lot to know that they came home and didn’t feel the same way,” said CHS student Jashon Thomas.

200 students gathered at the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial in Charlottesville on Tuesday. They placed flags to honor fallen soldiers and listened to stories like that of Dick Thompson.

“Well, for 30 or 40 years after Vietnam, you would never have admitted you were in Vietnam, even if it was important, Army Airman Thompson said.

He says war might not have been the best idea, but the soldiers’ hearts were in the right place.

“Everyone comes out with post-traumatic stress,” Thompson said.

Students say what they heard will stay with them.

“One thing I will remember is to always have courage, always push yourself to the max, and never give up,” said CHS student Khatron Jackson.

“We can be crazy about the reasons for the war. Maybe, you know, it wasn’t the best thing, but they were young men who were forced there or even if they volunteered, it’s not for them that he have to be sorry. It obviously caused a lot of problems and they went home with PTSD and we have to support them,” said CHS student Jacob Engel.

Thompson says telling their life story helps them recover from a painful past.

The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial Foundation encourages the city to make the memorial more accessible so that all interested veterinarians can visit it.

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