The Congressional Medal of Honor Society hosted a Town Hall Forum in the Alumni Memorial Building Auditorium September 12, 2014, and invited the community to meet and listen to Medal of Honor recipients Donald “Doc” Ballard and Clinton Romesha.
The conversation was moderated by Dr. Nick Geidner, journalism professor and creator of the Medal of Honor project at UT and Taylor Hathorn, UT alumnus who now works with the Medal of Honor Foundation in Washington, D.C., while
the Q&A session was moderated by UT students Hayley Brundige and Paxton Elrod.Ballard, a Vietnam veteran, and Romesha, an Afghanistan veteran, talked about their experiences both at war and coming home, showing the differences between soldiers returning home from Vietnam and Afghanistan.
While Romesha received higher praises from Americans after returning home, Ballard said Americans treated Vietnam veterans poorly upon returning home and told a story of a veteran who was stabbed to death by an American just after getting off the plane in San Francisco.
Bill Woodrick, a former professor at UT and attendee of the forum, said that he could remember
graduating classes booing students with ambitions to join the military. “It was embarrassing,” he said.
However, Ballard said that the love the soldiers had for each other is what got them out of Vietnam. “There is no greater love than combat buddies,” he said.
Romesha and Ballard also agree that military support and the meaning of freedom is dying in this country, and that the only way to get it back is through education.
“We want you to understand our core values.” said Ballard, “We want you to understand why we would give up our life for you.”
Edited by Ryan McGill