In Bedford, young people learn about sacrifice
Gary Backus, of Bedford’s VFW Post 8401 and a VFW state surgeon for 2013-14, applauds Rep. John Cebrowski after his speech about experiences in Vietnam at Monday’s event in Bedford. (Susan Clark)
As their names were called, veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and some on active duty stood to be honored for their service by the Bedford Historical Society and the high school's Students for Liberty on Monday.
Guest speaker state Rep. John W. Cebrowski, a Marine who served from 1962-67, recalled his years in Vietnam and what he learned from his experience — pride, surprise, fear, sorrow and anger, success, worry, joy and loneliness.
Cebrowski landed in Da Nang aboard a C-130 gunship, and knew his tour was going to be difficult.
During his first Christmas in Southeast Asia, Cebrowski said a special Mass by Cardinal Francis Spellman was organized, and surrounding them were troops with guns, rifles and mortar.
On Cebrowski's first mission, he and his fellow troops were trying to find a Viet Cong unit but the situation turned against them.
Sorrow and anger overcame Cebrowski during one mission, when a man made a mistake and walked between two trees — a grenade went off and severely injured the Marine.
But sometimes there was joy. In 1966 while on a mission, he saw the docked USS Constellation, upon which his brother, Art, was serving.
"What a joyful reunion that was. That was a heaven sent trip," he said.
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