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A Soldier’s Homecoming That didn’t Make it into Burns/Novick

Published on: September 18, 2017

Filed Under: Burns/Novick, Featured, GI Stories

Views: 1149

The day after I came home from Vietnam in early March 1968, I took the money I’d saved in those 13 months and went to West German Motors in Ft. Washington, PA, and bought a brand new Volkswagen. VW Beetle.  Red with black interior.

Only I didn’t buy it.  I had to give the money to my father, and he bought it because I was not legally old enough to buy a car.  The owner’s card remained in my father’s name for the next year and a half until I turned 21, which was the age of majority then in Pennsylvania.

The day after that, I went to McKeever Insurance, in my home town of Perkasie, PA, to get insurance for my car.  But Mrs. McKeever told me I couldn’t get a policy in my name.  I would have to be carried on my parents’ policy as a dependent child.

Understand what I’m saying here:  I had just spent 13 months fighting in Vietnam.  I was a combat-wounded Marine Corps sergeant, but the state of Pennsylvania recognized me only as a child dependent on my parents.

Let me say that again: I had just spent 13 months fighting in Vietnam.  I was a combat-wounded Marine Corps sergeant, but the state of Pennsylvania recognized me only as a dependent child.

You want to talk spat-upon?  I sure as hell was spit on when I came home, but it wasn’t the antiwar people who did the spitting.

I begged Lynn Novick of Florentine Films to get this story on film and into their documentary, but you will not see this true story among the 18 hours of film you are about to watch.  Instead, you will see and hear some teary-eyed woman apologizing for something there is no proof ever actually happened.

Bill Ehrhart

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