Dyanna Miller has no memories of her father, James Crew. He was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, but he never returned home.
“My father is MIA in Vietnam since November, 10 of 1967,” Miller said. “He left for Vietnam when I was 11-months-old and I was 17-months-old when he was shot down.”
Growing up, Miller said her father lived on in stories.
“My mother used to tell me that my dad wanted a child so badly when they got married. So once I was born, he took me everywhere,” Miller said.
Thursday, Miller attended the 2nd Annual Vietnam Era Veterans Day celebration at the 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown. There was music from the 1960s and 70s, food and war memorabilia.
Miller spent the day with other Vietnam War veterans who have become part of her family through their suffering, pain and compassion.
“To me, to be here and recognize the ones that are left and stand by and support them, that means everything to me because they were here for me and my mother all those years,” Miller said.
Veteran Community Initiatives President Tom Caulfield said it’s important to help veterans deal with challenges they face once returning from war, like finding work, dealing with PTSD or managing healthcare.
“There’s still a lot of problems with returning veterans,” Caulfield said.
Congressman Keith Rothfus also addressed the topic of improving healthcare for veterans.
“We are continuing to look at issues within the VA to make sure our veterans are getting the healthcare they earned and deserve. It been in the news about the secretary being replaced and we’re going to continue to monitor the situation at the VA to make sure we’re doing everything we can for our veterans,” said Rep. Rothfus.
“Snubby” Burket was a combat veteran in the Vietnam War. Now, he spends his time counseling other veterans with PTSD.
“I’ve been in counseling for PTSD for 30 years and now I try to help other veterans cope with PTSD. That’s my way of paying back,” Burket said.