In Twinsburg, A Museum For Local Veterans
It's a hard time for Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters across the country.
Many were opened and run for years by World War II veterans. The last military draft was during the Vietnam War. Not that many people who served in a foreign war are still around. With declining membership, closures are common.
In Twinsburg, where VFW Post 4929 has its offices in the old town government building, there's a small museum inside and a park next door where a bar used to be.
In 2015, the post was able to bring a traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit to Twinsburg.
The post's commander, Joe Jasany, is eager to show visitors the memorabilia from local veterans they've collected over the years.
"This is the one that really touches all of our hearts," says Jasany, as he stands over a display case with the black-and-white-photos of three young men in uniform.
"These were the three Twinsburg High School students that were killed in Vietnam. They're enshrined into this display case for all to read about. Each one was killed either in 68 or 69, mainly during the height of the war."
Jasany was a Marine in Vietnam in 1967 and joined the VFW in 1970. Here he describes his work on the museum, in his words:
I'm very veteran-oriented. I have a wonderful wife who knows on Memorial Day weekend, just leave me alone. I gotta put on a service and a parade, been doing it since 1970. But no one really wants or has the time for the responsibility. I don't want to see this post fold up so I have accepted the commandership.
This is an aerial shot, of the Cost of Freedom, that we put on. This is the largest moving Vietnam Wall that travels around the United States. It's 80 percent the size of Washington, DC. We put a display case aside and said anything left behind at the wall, with the exception of persihables, would be enshrined in this case forever. People ask us, why a six-pack of beer. I said, that could have been that guy's buddy who wanted to have a final beer with him.
World War II - the ticker tape parades, the kissings in the parks and stuff. And you hear about it, you read about it and to this day, what did the Vietnam Veterans have when they came home? First of all most of us came home singly, meaning we didn't come home as a unit. There are stories about being spit upon and baby killers, stuff like that, because again it was a one on one situation.
The Vietnam veterans did not have that, that's why the Vietnam veterans are such a close group now with all the anniversaries we've had over the years. Because if anything at least we're welcoming each other home. Every time I see what I feel is a Vietnam veteran, whether he's wearing something or I can kind of sense, I say welcome home. And it's really touching to hear him say it back.
-Joe Jasany, Commander, VFW Post 4929