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Return to Vietnam

A veteran, his daughter, their journey

A mother’s heartache, a son’s return

December
18

My paternal grandmother was, to be blunt, a tough old bird. She survived several wars, was widowed twice and worked many blue-collar jobs in rural Greek villages, then in New York City, to support my father and three other children before she could finally retire to her dream house in Marble Hill.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my father said that the only correspondence she sent him in Vietnam was a newspaper clipping, upon which she had scribbled this William Blake poem:

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My mother groaned, my father wept

Into the dangerous world I leapt

Helpless, naked, piping loud

Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

My father hadn’t told his mother when he would be arriving home in March 1968 – he didn’t want anyone to worry about his travel arrangements, and he also wanted it to be a pleasant surprise. Click on the audio link below to hear his story.

Download:

Check back tomorrow morning for the final entry in this blog – for now, anyway.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 7:00 am by Nicole Neroulias. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Vietnam veterans, Vietnam veterans

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About this blog
"Return to Vietnam" chronicles the journey of Col. Andonios Neroulias USA (Ret.) of Briarcliff Manor, NY, joined by his daughter, staff writer Nicole Neroulias, to the country he fought in 40 years ago. They are traveling with Vietnam veterans and Rotarians from Rockland County and other parts of the country. Check this blog for daily posts, photos, recordings and slideshows about their experiences.
About the authors
Nicole and Andonios Neroulias

Nicole Neroulias grew up in Briarcliff Manor, NY, and graduated from Cornell University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has covered religion and city news in Cyprus, Connecticut and California, where she earned several fellowships and prizes, including a national Religion Newswriters Association award. She joined The Journal News in early 2007 and also teaches journalism at Columbia.

Col. Andonios Neroulias emigrated from Greece in 1956 and was commissioned an officer through the ROTC program of the City College of NY. From 1967-68, he served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry (Tropic Lightning) Division, whose main base was in Cu Chi, known for its intricate Viet Cong tunnels. Among his military awards are the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve and lives in Briarcliff Manor, NY.
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