From Bethesda Beat: For First Time, Montgomery County Will Honor Its Vietnam War Veterans

Veterans who live in the county include former pilot shot down in immediate aftermath of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident


Tom Murphy, now a Rockville attorney, during his time serving in Vietnam. Murphy will speak Saturday at an event to honor Vietnam veterans who live in Montgomery County
It’s estimated that between 130 and 140 Montgomery County residents were killed in the Vietnam War and that more than 13,000 Vietnam War veterans live in the county now.

On Saturday, for the first time since U.S. involvement in the war ended in 1975, county leaders and some of those veterans will gather to honor those who fought in the war in an event that was both welcomed and viewed suspiciously by some.“We wanted these people to know that we appreciate them,” said Neil Greenberger, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County Council and history buff who together with employees of county public access TV stations helped organize the event over the last year.“Some of the vets we contacted said, ‘No one’s ever thanked us before, why are you bothering now?’ Some people were grateful,” Greenberger said. “It’s been a really long time.”Tom Murphy, a Vietnam veteran who leads his own Rockville law firm and has served as the president of the Maryland and Montgomery County Bar Associations, said he agreed to speak at the event, “Honor and Gratitude: Montgomery County Salutes Vietnam Veterans,” because organizers promised it will be a celebration of those who served, as opposed to a memorial.Murphy, who in June 1969 was shot in the chest in a firefight near the Cambodian border, said the opposition to the war and the lack of recognition of war veterans that followed definitely took a toll.

“People didn’t want to hang out with you because you were a veteran. You were anonymous. It was just something you did and you put it aside and nobody talked about it,” Murphy said. “Just nobody talked about it for decades.” Read more…