Bilingualweekly.com | Sarah Lippincott
In honor of Veterans Day, November 11th, Bilingual Weekly reached out to a member of our community who had served our country. We spoke with Vietnam Veteran Frank Reyes, who welcomed us into his home on November 10, 2011. As we visited with Reyes we met a humble person, an unsung hero to other Veterans. His service to America did not end at the closure of the Vietnam war, today, he continues to serve, annually he provides many Veteran organizations with countless volunteer hours as he helps with several tasks at each of the organizations he serves.
Reyes is a transplant from Denver Colorado, he signed-up into the Navy in 1963. He returned from Vietnam six years later in 1969, the following two years he was then stationed at Rough and Ready Island — immediately west of Stockton California’s Port.
As a Navy cook, “I went around the world once or twice, maybe three times? —not sure.” Reyes shared with a humble voice his military journey. Presently, he is retired and participates with the Fleet Reserve, Carl Ross Post 16, American Legion and the DAV where he has earned a positive reputation for his countless hours and contributions, especially in the kitchen, —a trade he learned back during his Military service. “We do BBQ’s on some Fridays nights, brunch once a month,” he said.
His rewards are beyond the immediate satisfaction of knowing he helps his fellow service men and women but also he enjoys the comradely of his peers. “I can talk to them because we know where we came from, and we know how we feel,” Reyes, explained that “civilians wouldn’t understand how I feel.”
The various engagements, battles, wars and national assistance of America make no distinction among veterans, “even young Veterans arriving in from Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand how they feel,” added Reyes. He noted that there are a lot more veterans that could take advantage of the veteran organizations but decide not to, “When you are a veteran, you should go where veterans are… They will take care of you they know how you hurt, because we all hurt at one point.”
While some take the opportunity to enjoy a day off work, for many and especially for those who have served, “Veterans day is a day of remembrance…” Reyes, meditated for all those who have given-it all to America. He advised those young military men and women serving, “to stick to the Gunny like glue, he will show you how to survive. It is the same with these organizations. We’ve been through it, and the doors are always open, we will help in every way we can.”
A historical note on veterans day — In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed an Armistice Day for the first time. By 1926 the U.S. Congress passed a concurrent resolution requesting President Calving Coolidge to formally make November 11th a day of observance. Act 52 stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a was approved by 1938 making November 11 a legal Holiday in America.