Vietnam War veteran sees hope in the future after visiting with elementary students
A Vietnam War veteran from Dumont says that he has hope for the future thanks to a recent experience with schoolchildren.
“If these are the future of our country, I couldn’t be more pleased,” says Tom Massey.
Massey spoke with students at Maugham Elementary School in Tenafly three weeks ago.
“I wanted to convey a message of what the Armed Forces means to the students and everyone around here,” he says.
The students were so engaged – touching his uniform, asking questions – that Massey says he was left convinced that they already knew.
“It did my heart good to see these young people did have a story to tell and were eager as heck to hear mine,” Massey says.
Massey was in Vietnam in 1966, building airfields, creating cities in the jungle and guarding outposts with help very far away.
“I wonder at 18 years old, did I have the moxie or whatever you want to call it to be there,” he says.
Massey had to grow up quickly.
“A pure bedlam was our experience in the field like that. We knew that we were vulnerable and expendable,” Massey says.
Fifty years later, Massey still has the uniform, the medals and the memories. But he says that after speaking to one group of children, he now has something else – perspective.
“We’re doing this for the generations to follow us. That’s what it meant to us,” Massey says.
Vietnam veterans especially enjoy the gratitude that they receive. Their homecoming was much different than the reception veterans get today. Massey says he hopes to speak to more schools in the future.