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Service & Sacrifice: A homecoming, 40 years overdue

1:04 AM, Apr 26, 2013   |    comments
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Handshakes, waves, and applause greeted East Tennessee native Jim Morrow as he walked along a parade route with close to 500 veterans of Vietnam in Pigeon Forge.

"Like I said, long overdue and this needs to be done all over the country so all (Vietnam) veterans can take part in it," said Mr. Morrow who served a tour in Vietnam as a member of a combat security police squad from 1968 to 1969.

In addition to serving in Vietnam Mr. Miller returned to war as a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard in 2004 when he served a tour in Iraq at the age of 56.  

In addition to recounting on camera his feelings about the two very different homecomings he experience after each conflict, Mr. Miller also took time to answer the following 10 questions that reveal more about his life in and out of the military.

10 Questions:

1.  What one person influenced you most in life?

I'd have to say my wife. She has been a good influence from the time we first met right out of high school.  We are going on 41 years of marriage this year.

2.  Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?

Yes, I do.  When I returned from Vietnam I had some bitter feelings.  It took me a while to get over that.  Going to Iraq and the welcome home from that war was a little bit of closure.

3.  How can people best thank you for your service?

Actually a lot of people will say it now.  That's always good.  The best way the younger generation can show appreciation is to follow in my footsteps and serve their country in some way.

4.  How do you honor your fellow service men and women?

A lot of the Vietnam veterans I run into I tell them, "welcome home."  That's something anyone can do and it means a lot to me.

5.  How do you think this generation of service men and women is different or similar to yours?

The way they are similar is a soldier is a soldier.  We have a duty and a job to carry out and we do it unselfishly.  That's why I hope we never go back to the draft.

6.  What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?

Oh gosh, that is hard to explain.  just about every aspect of my life had to do with the discipline and feeling of pride in myself and my country.  It affects everything you do in your life.

7.  Does your family have a history of military service?

No, I am the first one and I have 14 brothers and sisters.  I have had some nephews who have joined the service.  One was in Iraq in the Marine Corps at the same time I was there.

8.  Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?

Yes, I have and definitely would or at least some type of selfless service.  Even if it is work in a hospital or nursing home.  Some kind of volunteer effort.

9.  How has your opinion of war changed having lived it?

I think we could have done more in Iraq.  We should have kept a stronger presence when we left.  It feels like what we did was for nothing.  We left the country in pretty bad shape.  A lot of Iraqis we were in contact with were happy we were there.  I remember an older man who came out of a voting precinct with a purple finger signalling he had voted for the first time.  He hugged us and told us how much it meant.

10.  How did your military experience shape your religious faith?

Quite a bit.  Going through both wars I had a lot of confidence.  I never felt like I wasn't going to come home.  I felt like God was going to bring me through it.

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