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Vietnam vets provide living history lesson to McDowell students

Vietnam veterans talk with students at McDowell High School. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

A living history lesson at one McDowell County school is helping teenagers appreciate the freedoms they enjoy -- that came with a price.

Several Vietnam War veterans recently shared their stories with students at McDowell High School.

Students heard first-hand accounts of history through interviews with the vets. They will later put together videos from the information they gathered.

The veterans said it is touching to see these teens interested about that turbulent time in history.

"We got eggs threw at us when we came back home. We were ignored by people in society, and we just came back and went back to work and never said anything about it for 40 years," Randy Hollifield, a Vietnam veteran, said. "That's the way we are were. We never said anything."

"Right now I'm stressing out about colleges for me to pick, and I can't even imagine knowing that I'm not going to go to college. I'm going to be sent off to war as soon as I graduate from high school," student Hayden Vaughn reflected. "I can't imagine what that would feel like."

After the interviews, the students walked in silence to the veteran's memorial at the McDowell Senior Center. They were asked to reflect on the information they learned and the emotions they were feeling. Later they enjoyed lunch with the veterans.

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