The Jedburgh Podcast podcast

#131: NYC Welcomes Home Its Vietnam Vets - The Wall That Heals Comes to Queens - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

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America's Vietnam Veterans didn't come home to parades. They didn't come home to standing ovations. They didn't come home to a welcoming public that embraced what they did overseas. When many of our Vietnam veterans came home, they got spit on. They were told that their uniform was a disgrace, they weren't integrated into society, and many people shunned them.

58,281 of our Vietnam veterans never came home at all. Queens, NY bore more than its share of service and of loss. In September, Fran Racioppi had the chance to welcome home our Vietnam Veterans and all those who served from New York when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund brought the Wall That Heals to New York City.

A 3/4 replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the wall comes to those who can’t make it to DC. After the police escort, building the wall and the opening ceremony, Fran sat down under the lights with the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Veterans Services James Hendon, Chairman of the New York City Council Veterans Committee Bob Holden, Vietnam Veterans Association National President John Rowan, and Tony Nunciato, one of New York City's bravest veteran families, having lost his brother and Aniello in Vietnam.

They talked about the struggles our Vietnam Veterans faced when they returned, how America's institutions weren't ready for so many who had seen so much, how many of them answered the call to lead in politics and set the foundation for small business and our economy, and what NYC is doing to support Veterans of every generation.

Freedom's never free. It wasn't in the past, it isn't now, and it won't be in the future. To all our Vietnam veterans, thank you and welcome home.

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  • 0:00 The Wall That Heals comes to Flushing Meadows, Queens
  • 5:55 Vietnam War by the numbers
  • 8:18 Why Vietnam was a different war than the rest
  • 13:16 The family cost of Vietnam
  • 19:52 How New York supports Veterans
  • 26:29 The biggest improvements in Veteran support since Vietnam
  • 30:14 Continuing to serve for the next generation


  • “The median age of our Vietnam Veterans right now is 78. We wanted to bring this to folks before it was too late.” (2:18)
  • “We owe it to the men and women who gave their lives. To have this come to Queens is just a tremendous accomplishment.” (4:37)
  • “246 is the number of the most casualties in one single day in the Vietnam War.” (8:10)
  • “We were the flower children. We were the pot kids. Our fathers were the crew cut guys who drank.” (11:08)
  • “He gave his life, he gave everything, to serve our country. To see his name, to see it memorialized…gives me great homage.” (19:04)
  • “Many of our Veterans don’t self identify. You see me, there’s three other folks who served who you don't see.” (21:24)

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