Neguse pays tribute to Vietnam vets in Longmont
U.S. Army veteran Randy Blehm remembers coming home after serving for roughly 18 months in the Vietnam War like it was yesterday.
“I had rocks thrown at me. I was spit on. I was cursed. I was called a baby killer,” Blehm said Friday. “For two years, a lot of that haunted me.”
Blehm was 19-years-old when he fought in the Vietnam War in 1973.
Born and raised in Colorado, predominantly in the Greeley-area, Blehm served in the Army for 10 years.
Blehm and other Vietnam Veterans were honored by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D—Lafayette, Friday afternoon at American Legion Post 32 in Longmont.
“When that younger generation thanks me, just like now, it chokes me up and brings tears to my eyes,” Blehm said. “I feel appreciated.”
In 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed a proclamation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, for a 13-year period through 2025.
Neguse, who represents Colorado’s Second Congressional District, delivered remarks and honored Vietnam Veterans in attendance at Friday’s event.
“So many of our nation’s veterans who fought so bravely during the war in Vietnam were not properly recognized … when they returned home, which is precisely why this commemoration program was designed a decade ago,” Neguse said following Friday’s event.
“Honestly, the conversations I had today (with Vietnam Veterans) were just saying thank you; thank you for your service and we appreciate everything you’ve done for our country.”
Neguse previously visited American Legion Post 32 in Longmont in May, when he held a roundtable discussion with veterans and listened to the obstacles they had faced dealing with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Neguse, who introduced the Department of Veterans Affairs Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Processing Claims Improvement Act of 2021 in December, said the proposed legislation had gained momentum over the last several months and said he was “cautiously optimistic” about its chances of being passed.
Longmont Mayor Joan Peck, whose late husband Robert Arthur “Bob” Peck served in the Vietnam War, was also in attendance for Friday’s commemoration event.
Peck, in a separate interview following the event, commended Neguse’s work at the federal level to help veterans locally.
“I am so grateful, so grateful for his recognition on the federal level and that we need to do more,” Peck said. “We need to take care of these people.”
By: Matthew Bennett
Source: Boulder Daily Camera