BongHall-1Last night I returned to Vietnam. The last time I gazed onto the countryside of Vietnam my aircraft had just lifted off the runway at DaNang to the unrestrained cheers of all souls aboard, banked over Monkey Mountain, leveled out over the South China Sea allowing me a quick glance at my home away from home for the last fifteen months, as we flew into a dense cloud-bank concluding my stay and my sight picture, my only thoughts were, I’m alive. That was my last thought as I departed Vietnam. I’ve not been back. Last night, here in Greenville, at the TD Center, I returned to Vietnam.

Last night, 14 February, 2015, the Vietnamese-American community of South Carolina celebrated the entry of the “Year of the Goat” with the traditional Vietnamese New Year celebration. I became their guest in a round-about way, and it brought me back to January 1968, when my Vietnamese interpreter invited me to his home for a new year’s celebration. I actually briefly looked for the former Vietnamese Army Sergeant Sey (pronounced see), but I knew that he was not there. After all, he was working for the American Marines at the DaNang Airbase. The Communist would not have let him “slide” after their takeover; that is, if he were still alive in 1975.

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Sunday, Jan. 25, American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm and his Aide Donald Suchy arrived at the Columbia, SC airport.

American Legion Department of SC Commander John Collins and Department of SC Adjutant James Holland were at the airport to greet them.

American Legion Riders from Greenville American Legion Post 3 and other Legion Riders from Columbia area, escorted National Commander Helm to a hotel in downtown Columbia.

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Only 19 percent of 114th Congress have ever served in Uniform

The 114th Congress that will be sworn in just a few days from now will have the smallest number of military veterans of any Congress since before World War II.

Military experience in the Congress peaked at almost 80 percent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since that time, the percentage of Congressmen with military experience has dropped drastically and leveled off at about 20 percent since 2013.

The number of military veterans serving in the senate during the 114th Congress will increase from 19 to 20 and the number of military veterans serving in the House will decrease from 87 to 81.

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Greenville County Council has promised to help find a suitable location for the proposed memorial honoring American and Vietnamese veterans of the Vietnam War.

Bang Nguyen Hall, Vice President of the Greenville County Vietnamese-American community, appealed to the County Council for help during their December 2 meeting at County Square.

Mrs. Hall noted that Greenville is one of the 10 best places to live in the United States.

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DrAlSnyder-1Staff Report

Times Examiner columnist

Dr. Al Snyder, told the Green-ville American Legion Post in their monthly meeting last Tuesday that the Israel of today is still the nation that is special to God, just as it was during Biblical times. The Jewish people of Israel today are still "God's Chosen  People," according to "the everlasting covenant" made by God with Abraham some four thousand years ago.

Snyder is also a U.S. military veteran, having served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the Korean War.. Snyder completed a nine-months-long course in microwave radio at Ft. Monmouth, N.J., graduated at the head of his class, and then was assigned to serve as an instructor. He also served for 21 years as a Christian missionary in Liberia, West Africa, and in Antigua, West Indies. Following that he served as a mass communications professor at Liberty  University for 17 years and at North Greenville University for five years. He retired in 1998, and began writing for The Times Examiner in 1999.

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