Back to Vietnam

By Meghan Merkel
October 26, 2000

Matt Tholey

by Meghan Merkel

Sometimes things happen that we like to forget.

Talking about it is not always easy. That’s why we were fortunate enough to have Rick Lieb, Vietnam Veteran, come to Cabrini to share his experiences about the war. Recently he returned to the places he fought over 30 years ago. He spoke about the facts. He described the locations, the events, even his return to America. When asked about questions below the surface, he maintained an upbeat response and usually included a humorous anecdote. He openly admitted he “tries to forget.”

Who can blame him? He shared with us the horror stories of the ruthless Vietcong. They were only words to us that created images. But he lived through these images himself.

This raises a question. Many of us have loved ones that have had to endure the same experiences. Do we bring it up? Do we pretend it didn’t happen?

William Snow, junior Jessica Snow’s father, enlisted as a military police officer. Although they do not discuss it often, J. Snow recalled a time as a little girl when she found a picture in her father’s room of friends from the war. “I asked who the two men were with him, and he told me their names and simply stated that `they didn’t come back from Vietnam.'” Most of the information Snow learned about her father’s experiences she obtained from her mother or grandmother. “My grandmother told me that the hardest part was when he returned and people took out their frustrations with the war on him,” Snow recalled.

Junior Matthew Tholey seldom speaks to his father, who was a medic in the 4th infantry, Frank Tholey, about the issue. “If I have a question I don’t hesitate to bring it up, but I just assume he would rather not rehash the whole thing,” Tholey stated. Frank Tholey has been to the Vietnam Memorial once and saw many names of the men he served with. “My dad still thinks about it once and a while, but he tries not to,” Tholey said.

When senior Alex Muller was considering joining the Navy after college, his father, Fran Muller, convinced him otherwise. “Since the war he has reflected on his choice of enlisting in the Navy [during the Vietnam war], and he disagrees with that decision.” Like Tholey, Muller can talk to his dad about the situation, but does not make a habit out of it.

The speaker, Rick Lieb, also added that he feels the media has a huge contribution to creating the image of the “homeless veteran.”

“Each year you read about an unfortunate soldier who lives on the steps of some building in the city and is addicted to drugs. There are just as many successful veterans out there that they don’t focus on,” Lieb stated.

All three students’ fathers are in fact in the latter category. They all lead lives in successful businesses, ranging from carpentry to the police force.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Meghan Merkel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap