- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 10, 2002

Dave and Janet Guidos came from Hendersonville, N.C.; retired Army Col. Charles R. Johnson of Troy, N.Y., arrived with a group of fellow veterans; and Betty Shubert of Temple Hills walked from her job nearby.
They joined thousands of people yesterday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, paying their respects to the men and women who were killed while serving in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. As the four visited the memorial this Veterans Day weekend, the 58,229 names inscribed in the black granite wall were read aloud.
"I have a lot of friends on the wall; I've come here several times before, and it's becoming a healing place," said Mr. Guidos, 55, who served in the Army's 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. "It's very heartwarming to see all these veterans here brothers and we're all together again," he said. He was stationed in Vietnam in 1968-69.
Mr. Guidos said he hopes a war with Iraq never takes place.
"I hope we can come to peaceful terms, but I don't want to see a war. A lot of innocent men will be killed, and I don't want them to go through what we went through," he said.
Like Mr. Guidos, Col. Johnson has seen the devastation of war. "Those who have seen war, detest war," he said, referring to an often-used quotation. "Any solider who has ever seen war knows those devastations of war, the innocents the women and children who are victims of war the utter waste of men's lives and resources.
"And, perhaps with those things in mind, every veteran would like to avoid war with Iraq to the extent possible and hope that all steps are taken before our men and women are committed to battle," Col. Johnson said.
Mrs. Shubert, 52, a private-duty nurse, did not serve in the war. She came to find the name of her husband, Pfc. Darnay Shubert, who died during an ambush when communist troops jumped from a tree and killed him and his best friend.
Col. Johnson, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, came to Washington with the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans for a weekend of Veterans Day events. The group of 45 visited Arlington National Cemetery yesterday and watched the Changing of the Guard. They planned to attend a ceremony today at the Marine Corps Monument.
He paused at the sculpture of three soldiers, admiring the authenticity of sculptor Frederick Hart. "They're very typically dressed, typically armed soldiers looking at their comrades," he said referring to the placement of the statue. He found nuances only someone familiar with the military would notice.
"One, you see, is wearing his dog tags, the other has his dog tags tied to his boot," he said, adding that DNA has replaced the metal dog tags once used for identification purposes in the military.
Col. Johnson said the uniforms and the equipment on the soldiers brought back a lot of memories. He said he sent many soldiers out with the same gear: the flak jackets and the M-60s, machine guns.
Col. Johnson said he was asked to speak at a ceremony today at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center in Alexandria for a young Army captain who was taken prisoner by the Viet Cong in 1963 and killed a year later. In June the captain, Rocky Versace, was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bush, he said.
Mrs. Shubert, formerly of the Philadelphia area, said her husband was a teenager when he joined the Army and that they were a young couple just starting out when he was killed. She was 16 when she was married, she said. "I became a wife, a mother and a widow all in the same year."
Mrs. Shubert said she knew that her husband's name was inscribed in the wall, but she did not know where. She found his name yesterday for the first time, traced it on a piece of paper and carefully placed it in her purse.
"Two years ago," she said, "I gave my son his father's flag, the shells from the 21-gun salute and his medals."


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