By Jeffrey Westbrook
The Union Star
Glenn Henderson of Chatham served in the United States Army in Vietnam after he was drafted in 1970, spending 1970 and 1971 in the Southeast Asian, war-torn nation. Like many other men who served their nation in that war that became so unpopular at home in the U.S., he did not receive the recognition due to him.
Finally, over 50 years later, that negligence has been corrected, thanks to the efforts of Congressman Bob Good (R-VA05) of Campbell County. Good and his staff arranged for Henderson and about 20-25 other Vietnam Veterans to receive their long overdue medals at a pinning ceremony over which Good himself presided, at American Legion Post 325 in Danville.
Henderson summarized Good’s remarks made during the ceremony: what is being done for Vietnam veterans is too little, too late. They should have been recognized long ago (a sentiment with which, Henderson interjected, that he agreed).
These veterans from this forgotten war were barred from joining the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Henderson pointed out. According to Henderson, it wasn’t until years after the Vietnam War ended that the American Legion and VFW opened their membership to Vietnam veterans.
According to the VFW, “from February 1961 – May 1975, more than 3,400,000 Americans served in support of the U.S military operations in Vietnam and Southeast Asia; more than 58,000 gave their lives.”
Henderson expressed his appreciation for Good’s efforts on behalf of him and other veterans. He added that Good’s staff helped, particularly a former service member who also has helped veterans with disability claims.
This person helped Henderson get 80% disability in May 2022 from conditions he faced in the Vietnam War, and in December 2022 he helped Henderson secure the other 20% disability so that he now is able to received 100% of his disability.
“Bob Good is a mighty good man to help like this,” Henderson observed, adding that it had been difficult to live on social security alone prior to getting his veteran’s benefits.
The Chatham veteran noted that his son has served for 29 years and counting in the military, including three tours of duty in Iraq. Henderson himself served his time as a result of the draft, rather than enlisting, but he wishes he had done things differently. “If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t have been drafted; I would have enlisted and served for 20 years,” he commented.
He concluded that Congressman Good is making a positive impact in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District by helping “our military men.”