Vietnam Vet Makes Return To Rebuild
Clinic, Rose Garden To Be Built
Posted: 4:06 p.m. PDT April 16, 2002
Updated: 5:16 p.m. PDT April 16, 2002
ELK GROVE, Calif. -- A Vietnam War veteran is returning to the
place that changed his life forever.
Thirty-five years ago, retired postal worker Bill McDonald was just 20
years old and a crew chief and door-gunner on a huey helicopter.
"When I left to go to Vietnam, nobody cared. When I came back, it
was worse than nobody cared. They hated me. And now I am going back for a
35th-anniversary journey," McDonald said.
The decorated war veteran earned dozens of medals, including the Purple
Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. It's an accomplishment he only
"They were totally meaningless to anybody up until just a few
years ago when I finally said 'I am not ashamed, of what I was awarded'" McDonald said.
McDonald is now returning to Vietnam to rebuild what he and other
soldiers tore down.
"Ultimately, you go back to someplace where you blew up the
landscape, and you come back and help in some minor way, a
clinic, and set up a rose garden, symbolizing peace," McDonald said.
The Sharon Ann Lane Clinic will treat the residents of a small remote
village. And the rose garden will serve as peace offering. While in
Vietnam, McDonald will also work closely with the same men he fought
against 35 years ago.
"To meet their families and listen to their side of the story and
have a meal together. It's very symbolic now," McDonald said.
The details of McDonald's return to Vietnam will be posted on his Web
site, called "the Vietnam experience." To see it, click
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