Veterans remember Christmas away from family

The men were risking their lives while individuals back in the States could celebrate the holidays with their families and unwrap presents under the tree.

CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - A group of local veterans gathered Wednesday night to remember "The Christmas we Missed" where they served in the Vietnam War and spent their Christmas away from their families.

"We were in the middle of nowhere," Ysrael Ramirez said. "I think somebody said it's Christmas, so it's Christmas: cause you lost track of time."

Most of the men spent their first Christmas out of high school far from the comforts of home.

"My Christmas was back in 1969," Ramirez said. "I took off in October and spent Christmas in Vietnam."

The men were risking their lives while individuals back in the United States could celebrate the holidays with their families and unwrap presents under the tree.

"Sometimes we didn't eat," Robert Callejo said. "Sometimes we didn't sleep. Sometimes we would be all soak in wet."

The memories are still hard to talk about with the veterans. 

"That particular Christmas," the veteran said. "Some of them didn't come home."

Many veterans spent years recovering from just the physical wounds of combat.

"When I got wounded, they didn't pull me out till the next day so by that time I was in a coma," Callejo said. "It was a month later. I couldn't walk, I couldn't talk, I was a vegetable."

50 years later, the veterans are gathering to remember that they were and are not alone. 

"It's nice because only a veteran can only talk to a veteran," Ramirez said. "It might be a little different cause I was over here in Vietnam, but we share the same experience."

Now able to spend it with each other the veterans also remember the men and women who are overseas today.

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