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Exhibit honors Vietnam War veterans

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Vietnam War veterans are being honored all week, specifically with a new exhibit at the Five Sullivan Brothers Museum in Waterloo.

Groupings of dog tags line the wall representing the Iowan lives lost in the war.

The groupings become more dense as time goes on.

"Thirteen people I count, from my high school class, basic training class...that didn't make it home," said Vietnam vet Tom Pingle.

Many of those people were thrust into war, a life they never imagined they'd know.

"I was just a 19-year-old kid, literally on the streets of Waterloo and one week later I was in the jungle with tigers, monkeys, water buffalo and snakes. It was a culture clash for a city boy," said Vietnam veteran Dan Redding.

It isn't easy for veterans to see examples of history that were once very real to them, but it is important.

"Brings back a lot of memories, not all good, but I'm glad they're doing [the exhibit]," said Redding.

Because many of those who are still here say they feel lucky to be.

Many of their brothers and sisters never had the same chance.

"I've enjoyed 40-something years that they never got, got to see my grand kids grow up," said Pingle.

The exhibit is open 365 days a year, representing the time a Vietnam veteran served.

A "welcome home" parade for veterans will be held in downtown Waterloo on Friday at 6 pm.

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