Gold Star families and their loved ones killed in military action are honored on Veterans Day in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“I was wounded in action,” Vietnam veteran William Adams said, remembering his brother. “I survived, then he left and six weeks later he came back in a coffin.”
Lance Corporal George Adams of Worcester was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.
Her brother says it is a deep loss that is felt to this day.
“It’s hard to lose a family member, especially, you know, your brother, but I seen what it did to my mother. It was just awful the way she – she was. not the same after that, ”said William Adams.
But in the months following her son’s death, Adams’ mother was one of four Worcester County Gold Star Mothers who teamed up with the American Legion post at Vernon Hill to transform their grief. personal in a public mission – to build a “living memorial hospital” in Vietnam in the midst of war.
“These women lost their sons there, and for them to campaign for this money to build the hospital is incredible,” said Vietnam veteran Philip Madaio.
The 60-bed hospital was inaugurated in 1970, serving the needs of children in a war-torn mountainous region in Vietnam that previously had no access to medical aid.
“Think of the thousands of lives saved because these mothers wanted a hospital,” said Frank Carroll, former commander of the Vernon Hill post.
Carroll and retired UMass cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Thomas Pezzella have traveled to Vietnam several times over the years to check on the “American Hospital” as it is now called, and to deliver medical supplies. medical supplies and equipment from Massachusetts hospitals.
“It’s amazing, in a lot of ways, what you can do when you start from the bottom up, rather than the top down,” Pezzella said.
More than 50 years later, it has become a teaching hospital, making the dream of these golden star families in central Massachusetts come true.
“At least they didn’t die in vain, and their memories remain alive,” Adams said.
On Sunday, these veterans and Gold Star families involved in the establishment of the Living Memorial Hospital in Vietnam will hold a Day of Remembrance at the Vernon Hill American Legion Post in Worcester to honor the half-century since the hospital’s founding.