BROWNWOOD, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Patriotism is on display across the Big Country, as the City of Brownwood paid tribute to its veterans, with the overwhelming show of support making an emotional impact on several of them.
A Veteran of the Vietnam War, who spent years without recognition from the country divided over the controversial conflict, received an award for his service.
At the Central Texas Veterans Memorial, friends and family of Veterans gathered honoring those who served.
Among the crowd was Veteran Captain Paul Wade, who served two tours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and was there to receive a Purple Heart.
“I consider it undeserved, but I was proud of it, but I was more proud of Brownwood. The people stood up, the people applauded, the people said a veteran is a veteran you got to see, and it made me proud to be,” said Wade.
Wade says it took 52 years from when he was wounded to receive such the ultimate reward.
Kelly Reid, 94, was also in attendance and was the only World War II Veteran soaking up the recognition.
“Humbled by the standing ovation that I got. Sometimes I wonder, I don’t deserve all this. Nobody can really know how much I appreciate even being here among all these wonderful veterans of terrible wars,” said Reid.
Capt. Wade says most returning vets did not receive gratitude during the time of the Vietnam War.
“I have 104 medals and awards, I wear a few wings, but I can wear three or four more for different things that we earned, different things that we’ve done,” said Wade.
Wade says he believes the Brown County Museum of History wants to give veterans their well-deserved respect.
Both Capt. Wade and Reid say they were surprised and proud to see the number of people who came to support them and all Veterans.
Capt. Wade’s Purple Heart is now available for public viewing. It is on display at the Brown County Museum of History in their new Vietnam Veterans exhibit, showcasing a time of great division in our nation’s history.