Vietnam Veteran Gives a Stirring Presentation
Gate City resident and Vietnam Veteran Tom Keelin gave a memorable presentation at the July 10th Military History Roundtable meeting. Keelin, who lost his leg in the war, recounted not only that experience, but also discussed how he overcame it and also why it is important for veterans to share stories of their experiences.
Keelin said he was serving with a mechanized unit attached to the 173rd Airborne traveling in an armored personnel carrier when his unit was ambushed and a rocket penetrated the vehicle. “We had a couple of guys killed and my leg was blown off. We had quite a few that was wounded,” he said.
“The guy standing next to me was killed and we were standing almost back to back. He was killed and my leg was blown completely off. I felt only a lot of heat and I knew my helmet had been blown off. I looked down and my leg was gone. They dragged me out and I was laying there on the side of the road. When the shock wore off, the pain was excruciating and I was real sick at my stomach and didn’t know the extent of my injuries. The medics arrived and gave me morphine,” he said.
Keelin, who is the Pastor of Faith Independent Baptist Church in Summit, emphasized the importance of sharing the stories of war with today’s youth not to glorify it, but instead to help make it known what a terrible event it can be.
The August meeting of the Military History Roundtable will take place at 6:00 PM August 14th at the Highlands Museum.