AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Thunder Over Evans is more than a fireworks and pyrotechnic show, it’s a chance to honor service men and women past, present and future.
Doug Wilder, a Vietnam veteran, said this event and his participation mean a lot to him.
“It means a lot to us, especially the Vietnam vets, we appreciate that, and it’s just a great feeling,” Wilder said.
Wilder has completed four tours in Vietnam. He said that when he returned, veterans were often treated poorly.
“When I came back here for school in Virginia, there were real signs on the grass, dogs and sailors stay off our grass, we were spat on at airports, we were called baby killers “Wilder said.
It is this kind of treatment that, according to Shane Thompson, one of the organizers, led to the creation of this event.
“One of the founders a few years ago was at an airport and saw a soldier being abused and when he got home, it was about 15 years ago, he said we were going to have an event “Thompson said. .
They were hoping to hold an event to honor men and women of service.
“There’s a big part of our community that loves you to death and what we want to do is come here and celebrate you and show everyone how much we love you,” Thompson said.
For Wilder, it’s nice to see the appreciation of those who served.
“People realize it was wrong and we get the appreciation that we should have gotten at that time,” Wilder said.
Thunder over Evans also honored future veterans by swearing in a new generation of soldiers.
Forces United, a local non-profit organization that aims to help veterans with housing, education and other basic needs, was an event partner and attendees were encouraged to donate to the cause.
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