GREENFIELD — When Bob Workman and countless other veterans of the Vietnam War returned home, the welcome was less than warm.
“I was a Vietnam vet and they didn’t get a lot of thanks when they came home,” he remembered.
Anti-war attitudes in the United States made it so hard to come home that some men didn’t even admit they were in the war, he said.
Now that times have changed, Workman said it’s nice to be thanked for his service.
“It’s touching to know that people care; makes me feel good,” Workman said. “It’s important; I go out of my way any time (I see a veteran) to thank them for their service.”
There will be plenty of opportunities to do just that starting next week. Area schools and organizations will hold Veteran’s Day celebrations starting Nov. 8 and stretching into the following week.
Sponsored by the American Legion, Chamber of Commerce and Stillinger Family Funeral Home, more than a dozen veterans celebrations will be held throughout Greenfield to commemorate the Nov. 11 holiday.
The ceremonies are open to the public, and veterans are encouraged to attend. Workman is encouraging local veterans to especially attend school ceremonies, hoping to draw better attendance this year. While Greenfield-Central High School’s program is usually the largest, Workman said it’s important for students at all of the schools to be reminded about the importance of veterans.
“We do it mainly for the kids, so they recognize that freedom isn’t free,” he said.
Workman said the veterans honor guard, of which he is a member, also works to put together remembrances in local nursing homes.
“We go there to recognize veterans that are in the homes, too,” he said.
Aside from school ceremonies and nursing home programs, a number of other community organizations will honor veterans around the Nov. 11 holiday.
The Greenfield/Hancock County Chamber of Commerce is inviting veterans to its monthly luncheon Nov. 13. The American Legion is having its annual ceremony and lunch Nov. 12.
Stillinger Family Funeral Home is once again sponsoring a video showing at the Ricks Center. This year’s installment of the “Lest They Be Forgotten” series will be shown at 6 p.m. Nov. 12.
It’s the sixth year for the series; the subject of this year’s video will be “Return to Iwo Jima,” said Jeannine Gray, Stillinger’s family service and community liaison. Gray said the documentary will last about 90 minutes and will be offered to the public at no charge.
“These are moving documentaries, told by the men and women that participated in those conflicts,” she said.
Gray said the videos can be a good way for families to honor local veterans and learn together about the sacrifices they have made.
“It’s a great learning tool for children and just a way of remembering for older veterans,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful evening.”