‘Waiting a long time’
Ceremony gives Vietnam veterans overdue recognition
— Jim Buckland arrived in Vietnam in January 1970 at age 19. Less than two years earlier, he had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a high school senior because, above other reasons, he felt called to serve his country.
Some 22 months later, after serving a “support role” that
sometimes involved moving to forward positions, close to battle, Buckland returned stateside in November 1971.
Buckland didn’t expect a hero’s welcome when he and his comrades landed at San Francisco International Airport, he said. After all, Buckland noted, they simply had done their duty as dictated by orders given by their superiors.
As it turned out, however, there was no sense of homecoming at all — just rejection from a hostile crowd at the airport.
George Owings III, secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, affixes a commemorative lapel pin on a blazer worn by Jim Buckland, a Vietnam War veteran who lives in Earleville.