Mooresville Veteran Encouraging Others To Share Their Stories - myfoxcarolinas.com

Mooresville Veteran Encouraging Others To Share Their Stories

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Mooresville, NC - Memorial Day. The name says it all: A day to remember our country's veterans. But John Hedley says remembering what we learned in history books isn't enough. He says the real stories can only be shared by the people who were there and experienced it all. 

Hedley has taken it upon himself to share his story, no matter how painful it is to remember.

"It's very difficult to do. There are a lot of nights with a glass of scotch and tears running down my facetrying to write. And I don't want to sound over dramatic but that's the way it is," he says.

He served with the army for a year in Vietnam and over the past four years, he's been writing a book to tell his story.

"I have that same passion for the story from Vietnam because we were not treated well. Because we were not considered in any sort of positive way," says Hedley.

He's writing his book to make sure his own personal history -- and the history of those who served with him -- is recalled properly.

"One of my efforts is to write a book about our year there. Not concentrating on blood and guts and all that sorts of stuff, but to explain my decision making process with some of the events that happened," Hedley says.

Despite the process being painful at times, Hedley says he's writing this book in order to establish a legacy. He wants to give family members of his unit a way to know what the people closest to them really did when they served. 

Hedley is also telling his story as part of an oral history being compiled in Washington D.C. by veterans from all over the country.

He says his father's story is what first motivated him to start sharing.

"My dad was a World War II veteran and I don't know anything about what he did. He wouldn't talk to me. You know that generation just wouldn't talk about what they did. The older I get, the more I miss that. The more I just wish I knew."

For those not able to put their stories in writing, there is Richard's Coffee Shop. It's home to Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum, and it's a place where veterans can come and chat with each other over coffee. Hedley says sometimes some friendly coffee talk is all it takes for wounded warriors to open up and fight their demons.

And frequent volunteer Ray Adams agrees. He says, "You come in and talk to people, and like some of the people have said who spend a lot of time in therapy at the V. A. hospital... they get more here then they could ever get at the V. A. hospital."

According to Hedley, opening up can be therapeutic. He plans to finish his book, continue telling his story and continue helping other veterans share theirs.
 
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