Sons respect parents' military service

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    WEST MILFORD-For children of veterans, having a hero for a parent can have an awesome effect on one's life and one's country. Local veterans and their children speak about what inspired them to serve their country and the importance of remembering fellow soldiers. "It is more important to remember the people who served than the actual events that took place during wartime" says Thomas Kuenzle a local resident and Vietnam veteran who was inspired by his father's service in the Battle of the Bulge. "My dad never spoke of his wartime experience when I was growing up but he did inspire me. I was an infantry man in Vietnam for 13 months from September, 1968, to December, 1969," says for the former First Cavalry sergeant. "It was brutal in Vietnam. My father taught me about the importance of veterans when I was growing up. I learned about sacrifice. He got trench foot while fighting for this country. It's worse than frostbite; all your blood vessels freeze. He coped with that his entire life. War never goes away. Most soldiers don't speak about what they went through but they do take time to remember fellow veterans. It is important to stand behind and back the people who served our country." Besides being a veteran who was inspired by his father's service, Thomas Kuenzle also has a son who is interested in joining the military, "I'd rather see my son go into intelligence and not the infantry. He is a straight A student and I'd like to see him utilize his talent if he decides to join." Despite his father's and older brothers' wishes that he not serve, Richard Gregory signed up to serve in Vietnam with the Marine Corps. "My father fought in Korea and my brother was a soldier between Korea and Vietnam. They both tried to convince me not to go." What was it like growing up with a veteran for a father? " I looked up to my father and older brother. Although my father never spoke of his time over in Korea we grew up with a great understanding of the importance of remembering veterans. Last week Ryan and Sean Healy of West Milford came home on leave. One was back from Iraq for two weeks and one is stationed in North Carolina. We threw a party for them here at the American Legion. I said thank you to them as I always thank soldiers for their service because it is important they know their work in important and appreciated." Being a member of The Sons of the American Legion inspires Barry Molner a West Milford resident of 18 years to help veterans. " My father was a World War II and a Korean War veteran. Although my father didn't speak about the wars we grew up respecting those who served our country. I frequently went to the American Legion as a child, we had barbecues on Memorial and Veterans Days. It is important to remember veterans alive and dead." Molner added: "I really respect Veterans, when you think about them for a moment it's the veterans that fight for and help keep our freedom. What if we had lost World War II?"