Diamond Bluff resident among veterans getting welcome homeLast month, Bob Solie of Diamond Bluff was among eight veterans honored at a special welcome home ceremony in Menomonie.
Solie among veterans getting welcome home
By Bill Kirk
DIAMOND BLUFF—A veteran of the Vietnam War, Bob Solie went mostly unnoticed after his military service ended and he returned home to his native Rochester, Minn., area in the early 1970s.
Solie didn’t encounter many war protestors there and, later, when he did cross paths with some in the Twin Cities, he refused to let them bother him, he said.
“We were just doing a job,” he explained.
But his service was more than that. Last month, the present Diamond Bluff resident was among eight veterans honored at a special welcome home ceremony in Menomonie. The event was organized by members of the New Richmond VFW; the others were Carmine Fatigati, Roy Fuhrmann, Bruce Mellen, Daniel Buss, Donald Clark, William Dahl and Lawrence Tylee.
The ceremony, attended by notables such as Lester Schwarm (325th Glider Infantry), Bill Hannigan (82nd Airborne), Robert and Liz Snitgen with “Harriet” the eagle, Judith Durkee and mother (in memory of Glenn Ward), plus State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf of River Falls, wasn’t the first of its kind for the organizers and Solie felt confident it won’t be the last. So how did he get invited?
“I was up in the Town of Hudson one day, looking for a fish fry,” he said about his invitation’s origin.
While asking around for and acting on a dining recommendation, he happened to meet Dave Green, he said. During their conversation, he learned Green was not only one of those ceremony organizers from the nearby VFW chapter, but had been in the Rangers, like himself. Further discussion revealed Green knew several of the same men from the war as he did. In fact, it was Green’s unit who bailed out Solie and his fellow Delta Company soldiers when they became pinned down by fighting near a hospital the latter found in Vietnam’s central highlands.
Moreover, Green, as a founder of the special welcome home program, was anxious to have a military man he’d helped nearly 40 years earlier be recognized now, that vet said. The honoree was reluctant at first, not wanting to get up in front of a crowd and certainly not eager to deliver any speeches to an audience.
Nonetheless, Solie said he was persuaded to go to the event at Menomonie’s Disabled American Veterans facility on June 21 and was treated royally. The activities opened with a color guard, followed by a chaplain-led prayer (also part of the closing), the “Star Spangled Banner” was presented, a meal was served, and there were special presentations and guests.
Read more in the print version of the Herald July 22.