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He began by talking about how his memories of his service in Vietnam and his stories have somewhat mixed as nearly 50 years have passed since he was in the Army there, during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
|Allen, Vietnam, 1968|
One particular day, their platoon moved in on a bunker that was firing on them. Because Allen was the squad leader, he and two others surrounded and attacked the bunker, firing heavily as they entered.
The lone, young soldier was dead. He had been left behind, injured, medicines and photos of his family arrayed beside him.
The Vietnamese interpreter, called a Chieu Hoi (former Viet Cong) and assigned to the unit, sat down with Allen and translated the many documents, including personal letters written by the soldier who had been killed. He had missed his family and hoped to marry when he returned.
The Chieu Hoi picked up the helmet and gave it to Allen, saying: "This is not a war souvenir. I want you to keep this as a memorial so you will know the enemy we fight are people too."
One day, we will go again to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D. C., and Allen will put this helmet there. A memorial.