Pictured above is Carl Gorham WWll Veteran, Carl is the orginator of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
This is the true histroy behind the creation of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 10:15 PM PDT
Kern Valley Sun
It’s common for parents to boast about their children’s accomplishments. Offspring that revere their parents with the same degree of pride is typically more noteworthy.
Jeff Gorham, of Bodfish, takes a great deal of pride in his father, Carl Gorham, a WWII veteran living in Yucca Valley, and what he has achieved.
Carl Gorham never considered himself an activist until a few years ago when he watched a Veterans Day Parade in Palm Springs. Seeing the various veterans’ groups parade by, he noticed the crowd gave enthusiastic welcomes to all except one, the Vietnam Veterans.
Gorham recalled that you could hear a pin drop as they passed. “I sensed that people weren’t comfortable cheering for them,” Gorham said, “I thought it was terrible they were publicly shunned like that.”
Gorham later approached the group and thanked them for their service and formally welcomed them home. “There were tears in their eyes and many of them told me that was the first time they had ever been thanked for their service,” Gorham said. “You could see the bitterness that had been there a long time.”
The experience stayed with Gorham and he was determined to do something positive for the Vietnam vets. He began making phone calls and speaking to anyone who would listen, trying to raise awareness about the situation that troubled him. Eventually, Gorham met with Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) and asked for help. Cook listened attentively and, eventually State Assembly Bill AB 717 came to fruition.
Gorham was thrilled when he was invited to the Sept. 25, 2008, ceremony in which Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law at the Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms.
On March 30, thanks largely to the commitment and compassion of an 85-year-old Marine, Vietnam veterans will be celebrated across California on “Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran’s Day.” Events will be held up and down the state, acknowledging the men and women who served the country honorably during a very contentious era in American history.
“I was thrilled that they finally got the recognition that they so truly deserved,” Gorham said. He declined a public acknowledgment at the bill-signing, believing it should just be about the veterans.
Gorham said he wasn’t sure what he would be doing on March 30, but added, “I fully intend to find some Vietnam veterans somewhere and thank them personally for everything they did and tell them, ‘Welcome home.’”
“We are all so proud of my father for what he’s done,” said his son Jeff. For more information visit www.whvvd.org.