Independence native William Pierce Jr. is a Vietnam veteran. He is an active member with the Independence Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1000. He sat down with The Examiner to talk about his service in Vietnam and what the VFW is and what it does for the public.
He served in the Vietnam War in 1970 and 1971 with the rank of Specialist 4.
|What did you do while serving in Vietnam?||
I mostly just worked on general staff Division Tactical Operations Command (DTac) with the Americal Division.
|Have you received any honors?||
The Bronze Star for meritorious service.
|What was it like coming home after serving?||
It was not like today. They didn’t care back then unless they were family. We didn’t get the respect then that we do today. It was just a different time.
|Do you feel it was necessary for the U.S. to be there looking back?||
No. Hindsight being 20/20, those 58,000 were a loss.
|How do you feel about serving the U.S.?||
At the time, all of us were proud to be in uniform but it wasn’t a shared value in the community because of the circumstances. That’s why a lot of us are members at the VFW because we are still proud of our service, and that’s why we serve our community.
|“The Wall That Heals” is coming to Blue Springs at Pink Hill Park this weekend. Do you believe the wall will be beneficial to those who served in Vietnam?||
It is going to be more beneficial to people who don’t know about the war to see the sacrifices of that time. We’ve already been through it. But will I go see it, yes.
|What is the purpose of the VFW?||
The purpose is to promote knowledge of veterans affairs, and to promote good will in the community. We try to help the community, build respect for veterans of foreign wars, and welcome in the new veterans.
|Is the VFW exclusively for veterans or is it open to the public?||
The membership itself is exclusively for veterans, but we want the public to come and experience our facilities and just enjoy themselves. We are a group of people united by a past purpose and a current cause.
|Does the VFW host events open to the public?||
We have Friday night dinners, auctions, fundraisers, Light a Bike programs for kids, and Voice Democracies for high schools in the area.
|What wars can one find veterans from at the VFW?||
They can find veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars.
|What can one find when they come to the VFW?||
They can find a lounge, two halls that can be donated or rented, and a patch board. It is a place where you are welcome and can meet your company.
|Does the VFW teach classes to educate citizens on foreign wars?||
That is part of the patriotism. We have officers go to schools when schools request it.