Honoring veterans and an old friend

Former Armed Forces disc jockey and lawyer Adrian Cronauer
On Veterans Day in 2002, Amy and I were in Belleville, IL, her hometown, settling the estate of her mother, who died earlier that year and saw in the newspaper that the Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial would be in the area with featured speaker Adrian Cronauer, the former "Good Morning Vietnam" armed forces DJ and a good friend and neighbor in our condo building.

The Traveling Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial from Doug Thompson on Vimeo.

In 2002, Amy and I were in Belleville, IL, (part of the St. Louis metro area> settling the estate of her late mother when we read in the local paper that the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial would be in the area for Veterans Day and would feature a speech by former Armed Forces “Good Morning Vietnam” DJ Adrian Cronauer, then an attorney in Washington, DC.

We knew Adrian and his wife. I met Adrian in Roanoke in 1967 when I was a reporter, photographer, and columnist for The Roanoke Times, and he was the manager of the then-new UHF TV Channel 27, a job he had taken after returning from Vietnam.

We had stayed in touch after I left the area to take a new job at The Telegraph in Alton, IL, in 1969, and he later moved to New York City to work for a radio station and to teach.

In his 50s, Adrian decided to become a lawyer and he and Jean moved to the National Capital Region after law school graduation. Amy helped them find a new home, a condo in the high-rise where we lived. Adrian became head of the Missing Vietnam Soldiers Program at the Pentagon.

All of us came back to the Roanoke area after our time in Washington, but we were still in DC in 2002 and had my video equipment with us when he came to the city that was Amy’s hometown.

The video above was one of my early ones after I decided to expand my visual reporting to include moving images. It seemed like a perfect one to remember old friends — they died a few years ago — and to honor those who wore the uniform and served their nation in times of need.

Let’s please remember all of them on Veterans Day.

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