Vietnam veterans say Lake Sam Rayburn brought them to Angelina Co. after the war

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Monday in Lufkin, dozens of veterans were honored as they marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.  A group of East Texans who did not know each other prior to Vietnam are now neighbors.

The group of women and women honored on Monday were in there early twenties 50 years ago serving our country in Vietnam. Today, they call East Texas home and are remembering the 50,000-plus who lost their lives.

"It's important to remember all of the people that sacrificed so much; their health, their welfare and sometimes lives," said Vietnam veteran Elaine Cameron. "Remember what they did for our country and our freedom."

"Veterans are like a fraternity," said Vietnam veteran Bill Cameron. "Veterans Day gives me a chance to meet everybody, know who the veterans are and we look forward to it each year."

A group of Vietnam veterans did not know each other during the war but decades later one common place has brought them all to Angelina County.

"I was a bass fisherman and ended up at Lake Sam Rayburn and bought us a place over there," said Vietnam veteran Richard Riley.

The Camerons said they could have picked anywhere in the world to live after spending a combined 30 years in the army. Elaine Cameron was volunteering as a nurse in Vietnam when she met her husband Bill in 1970.

"I was patriotic, I loved my country, and I also wanted to be the very best nurse I could be," Cameron said. "I wanted an adventure, so that's why I volunteered for Vietnam."

They're not the only veterans East Texas news met that have been married for 42 years. They are thankful the war brought them together.

John Ellis and his wife have also been married for 42 years, and Ellis said his duty in Vietnam was well worth it.

"I met a girl over there and married her; and brought her back to the states with me," said Vietnam veteran John Ellis.

Monday's veterans said they are proud of their service but are more proud to be an American.

Each of them said they look forward to next year's Veterans Day program.

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