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REUNION IN CHARLESTON

 

  The reunion was a great success  as we all got together for four days of activities and fellowship.

Check in went smoothly on Thursday with a few hiccups as some folks were delayed due to weather conditions at their home airports. The reunion was kicked off with the welcome dinner that evening.

Friday we did a bus tour of Charleston and had  time to explore the market place. That evening was free time and many folks took advantage of the hospitality room to reminisce and bid on the silent auction items.

Saturday was busy with the Executive Board meeting followed by the General Membership meeting. After the meetings we toured Boone Hall plantation and concluded the evening with a dinner cruise on the Carolina Queen.

Sunday we were off to tour Patriots Point followed by our Farewell banquet. Monday was our final breakfast as we said farewell until our next reunion in September 2020.

I'll be posting photos over the next several weeks so keep checking in.



Charleston Reunion Was Fantastic!


Yes, the Charleston Outlaw reunion was indeed fantastic. Not just because of the planned dinners, travel venues, welcome bag gifts and the other trappings that accompany reunions. It was because no one knew everybody but everybody knew somebody !

Knowing somebody you knew half a century ago, and being able to again share a little bit of ourselves with each other, even for a few days, is why the reunion was fantastic! You could hear it in the laughter from all around the Hospitality room. And you could SEE it in the many hushed tones of conversations between those somebodiesfrom all those years back.

We all know that you cant sit down with a non-veteran and talk of your experiences from your Viet Nam service. There is a bonding among those who served together, especially in a combat environment, that non-veterans can never be a part of. Sometimes words like bondingand healingmay seem like clichés, but those feelings are real when a group such as the Outlaws get together after so many years. And, it makes for a fantastic experience!

Everyone reacts to their military service in different ways. Some hold their feeling in and find it difficult to express those feelings. Reunions provide a way for those feelings to express themselves just by being with someone who was a part of your younger life. Verbalizing our memories, with someone we know who we shared that military time with, can help bring out many suppressed feelings.

Certain things are likely true for all of us who spent time in Viet Nam. Probably none of us had altruistic intentions when we went off to war. We went because we had elected to serve our country when it called. However, serving in Viet Nam gave us the honorable title of veteran”. Most of us probably developed a better knowledge of what the word patriotismmeans, and we feel a higher degree of that patriotism. Most of us, inside, have a feeling of im- mense pride when we see our countries flag pass by in a parade, or flying on the court house lawn, because we served”. We wear the caps, badges, pins on our veterancaps to show the pride we have displaying our veteranstatus.

The reunion Hospitality Room proved to be a fantastic gathering place. Far more laughs than tears. And, seeing those once-young men who now share the experience of going through frustrating body configurations we never thought wed have. But we found we were among friends, even though we did not know everyone, but we knew someone.

Many Charleston attendees were veterans of earlier Outlaw reunions. From a show of hands at the Farewell Dinner, it appeared that 30- 40% of attendees were first-timers, which speaks well for the future of the VLOA and more fantastic future reunions.

Yes, the Outlaw reunion was indeed FANTASTIC. Lets do it again in 2020 in San Antonio.


The next reunion is scheduled for September 2020 at San Antonio Texas.