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Tales stir wartime memories | NOTABLE

South Whidbey storyteller Jill Johnson performs “Holiday in Vietnam” in honor of Veterans Day Sunday at American Legion Post 141 in Bayview.  - Kathy Reed / The Record
South Whidbey storyteller Jill Johnson performs “Holiday in Vietnam” in honor of Veterans Day Sunday at American Legion Post 141 in Bayview.
— image credit: Kathy Reed / The Record

Bittersweet recollections of holidays spent in Vietnam and the feelings experienced at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. stirred memories for many at the Veterans Day observance held by American Legion Post 141 in Langley Sunday morning.

Post Commander Jim Knott kicked off the event with a moment of silence in honor of all veterans and in particular, those who gave their lives in the line of duty. He moved quickly to the main event — special guest South Whidbey storyteller Jill Johnson, who was part of Army Special Services in Korea and Vietnam.

“This is a very important day,” she told the group. “I’m honored to be with you who have served, who have been there, because I know what you’ve done.”

She began with her recollections of the holidays in December 1967. She told an amusing tale of the “requisitioning” process used by military members to procure needed items. In her case, she and her co-workers needed 850-feet of

wrapping paper to create makeshift walls for a party for the troops.

Johnson’s story earned a number of chuckles as she spun her tale and several of the veterans in the room nodded in agreement and appreciation as she shared the twisted route to get the needed supplies. Her second story, “The Same Season,” told of her visit to the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the common bond all veterans share.

“The memories are sharp and clear and I think they always will be,” she said.

“It takes real talent to translate memories into vivid pictures,” said Joe Wishcamper, who was visiting the Post for the first time. “It felt like you were there.”

 

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