LITTLE CHUTE, Wis.—A Wisconsin veteran gained a new outlook on his service after giving back to the community
For decades, American Vietnam Veterans of the Appleton area, Chapter 351, have shared their experiences of war. For one veteran, it was an eye-opening experience and changed his outlook on his service.
Larry Cavanaugh served in the military during the Vietnam War. His service meant a lot to him, but it wasn’t always easy for him to talk about it.
His outlook changed 10 years ago when he joined Appleton Area Vietnam American Veterans Chapter 351.
The group visited schools in the Fox Valley area and shared with the children artifacts and stories from their time in the Vietnam War. This provided the students with first-hand testimony.
“I never got to talk about my time on duty and after seeing this a couple of times, what the guys were talking about, I finally talked about my experience,” Cavanaugh said.
Many Vietnam War veterans did not return home with a warm welcome, which left many feeling that their service was unimportant. For Cavanaugh, being able to share their stories has value.
“What gives me such a sense of satisfaction is that maybe someone is finally listening to me and I could really make a difference or impact a child’s life,” Cavanaugh said. .
By working with children, veterans were able to shed light on the conflict through their own eyes.
For Cavanaugh, it was a relief to finally share his thoughts and feelings after all these years.
“I went out and listened to others. If they could tell their story, I could tell mine,” Cavanaugh said.
Through this program, he was able to put himself on a better path for himself and for the next generation of students eager to learn more about our country’s history.