Welcome Home Willie, Welcome Home!

July 6, 1948 - October 27, 2006

Willie G. Dougherty

Willie Gilbert Dougherty was born on July 6, 1948, in Amarillo, TX. Due to his father's military transfer, Willie moved to Tidewater VA, at the age of two. Willie G. Dougherty served his country in the United States Army, and was wounded while serving in the Vietnam War, Phu Lam, and was awarded the Purple Heart.

After returning home to the country he fought for, he received a not-so-warm homecoming from his fellow Americans, Willie dedicated himself to serving his fellow veterans on the homefront, being a strong advocate for veterans rights and benefits as part of the Vietnam Veterans Voice of Austin. He served as a Veterans Service Officer for Travis County, and at some point also served as its Chapter 1919 Service Officer. In recent years, Willie moved with this wife, Jean, from Austin to Livingston, TX, but he returned often to Austin to attend special veterans' events, and a only one year before his passing, attended the Veteran's Day Parade in 2005.

Willie G. Doughterty died at the young age of 58, on October 27, 2006, not quite 40 years after returning home from Vietnam. A memorial service was held for Willie on October 31, 2005. He was laid to rest in West Tempe Cemetery Livingston, Texas. Welcome Home, Willie!

This webpage is my tribute site to Willie G. Dougherty, friend, Vietnam Veteran, Veterans' Advocate, and also a talented poet and fantastic storyteller. Through his poetry Willie expressed how he felt about being a Vietnam Veteran.

Godspeed, Willie! We Will Miss You!

Collection of Willie's Poems

Welcome Home
by Willie Dougherty

"Welcome home soldier, we're proud of you"
Spoken words were never so true.
But that doesn't stop this hurt deep inside.
God, would it have been easier if I had died?

I want them to know how proud I am,
And that I really do give a damn.
But, it hurts me so to see everyone,
Forget that thankless job we had done.

We didn't want to fight that war,
Don't even know what were fighting for.
Came home tired, hurt, and lost.
So many lives that damn war cost.

You expect me to talk, it will help me deal.
But, the nightmare for me is still so real.
What can I say to make you see
the person That's here is no longer me.

Will you ever understand
how much I left behind in Nam?
My mind is numb, my heart is torn.
My desolate past, I quietly mourn.

This empty space inside of me
The space where life used to be.
Now, just sorrow, pain and fear
And one very lonely, solitary tear.

© 1992 Willie G Dougherty

The 4th
by Willie Dougherty

He walked down Main Street
His head was hung down
His clothes were dirty and worn
He does not remember the last meal

As he approached the corner
Old Glory was waving in the wind
A sharp salute he rendered to the
Flag he loved so dear

Once he walked with his head high
His clothes were those of the Military
He went to a land far away to fight
Freedom was what they say he was fighting for

A high price so many have paid
Lives fallen at the hands of the enemy
Souls lost in a far away land

Yes he served with Pride
So that Freedom may ring
Yet in his head the battles
Go on and on everyday

Is this what he fought for
To have his friends and Family
Turn their back to him when he returned
To be alone in his battle each day

People were in the park
With their families
Celebrating the 4th of July
To so many just another day off

As he walks by they do not see
The battle that he holds within
The War that goes on in his world
Day after day, but they are Free

Soon the sun starts down in the West
He shuffles down the street
Knowing another night on the streets waits
Another night to fight the battles alone

© 1998 Willie G Dougherty

Paying The Price
by Willie Dougherty

Never will I forget the price that you have paid.
Giving up your life, your happiness,
All because we said, "Go young man, fight the war,
Fight 'til you can fight no more.

"Make us proud, show your pride."
Now just hurt, so deep inside.
How can I ever let you see,
How proud of you I will always be.

Don't hide your head...hold it high,
Never let a man walk by,
And tell you that to fight was wrong,
It was right to be there all along

No parade, no welcome home,
None of it was ever shown.
But, be proud, stand tall.

And know that you deserve it all.
Remember that the price you pay for freedom,
Lives with us each day.

© 1991 Willie G Dougherty

The Seed Planted
by Willie Dougherty

The seed was planted at an early age
The father a proud WWII veteran
Be Proud of the Flag son it stands for a Great Nation
The seed was planted

Soon his country called again
Off to Korea he would go to
Defend this Great Nation
You are the Man of the house now he told his son
Stand tall and protect your Mother, a strong order
For a six year old
The seed was planted

Soon days became weeks and weeks months
His father far away and no word from him
Than the telegram came
Missing in Action Status unknown
The seed was planted

They waited day after day for word to come
Hoping and praying that Dad would return
Longing to have his Father to be there to play ball
Go fishing, camping, all those Father Son things The seed was planted

After two years of waiting, there was knock at the door
Two Army soldiers bearing news of his father
Not good news...He was now declared a POW
He will come back won't he says the boy and mother
"Of course," replied the soldier, "We would never leave
One of our own behind." "Just going to take time"
The seed is planted

It was the Fourth of July, two days before his 18th birthday
He stood on the curb as the parade went by
Soldiers, Marines, Air Force and Navy in their uniforms
Marching with their head held high. Veterans of war gone
By march too with their heads held high, as people cheered
The seed was planted

Now he was 18 and all these years and no word on Dad
Another war is raging in a land called Vietnam
Under much protest from his Mother, he joined the Army
"It's what I must do, Dad would want it this way
It is a Great Nation and I must do my part
The seed is planted

Soon training is over and it is his time to go
He hugs his crying Mother, saying
"Don't worry Mom, I'll be back"
We will win this war in no time flat and I will be back
The seed is planted

© 1998 Willie G Dougherty

New Found Hope
by Willie Dougherty

The cold steel of the revolver touched his sweaty palm.
Alcohol numbed his soul, as he contemplated suicide.
Why had it been so tough for so many since the war?
Broken relationships, loneliness....he had to decide.

The radio droned low to the tune of "Hey Jude."
Memories of the jungle flooded his mind.
So many years of struggle had come to this moment
His heart felt pain for his buddies left behind.

Shrugged by society, thousands have since died.
Why won't anyone listen to our cries of pain?
As he spun the cylinder, he thought of the children.
Their faces filled with fear, who was to gain?
Now his own children were with another father.

Thoughts of what he had done, angered him.
She had been a good wife, he had lost control.
Oh how it hurt, when he pondered upon them.
Rap groups had proven, others were suffering too.
How could great warriors be neglected by their peers?

Isolation and denial had become close friends.
For in his solitude, no one could touch his tears.
As he raised the revolver his hand began to quiver.
Great rage had dissipated into pastive defeat.

Once a proud soldier, full of raw courage.
Now turning his weapon inward, was such a hard feat.
As he began to squeeze, he heard a familiar sound.
"POW's" ...Russia may still hold some from the Nam.

A myriad of thoughts cascaded through his mind.
A woman kneeling in prayer, he knew was his Mom.
Communism was crumbling before the world's eyes.
Visions of Vietnam today, in such great trail.

It all began to click, who had really won?
A warmth came within that he hadn't felt in a while.
The impact was strong, they had not died in vain.
Corruption rand deep, amongst political allies.
"Peace with Honor" was always shallow and fragile.

Cover up after cover up, filled with lies.
Sunlight raced in, as he opened the door.
An old Soldier weathered, by many hard years.
As the new day dawned, he felt a renewed life.

Determined to find answers, he challenged the fears.
The Veterans were right, this is what they needed.
A string that tied them with the past.
Many will be indicted in the days to come.

Than we'll know the truth ...at Last...!

© Willie Doughety August 24, 1992

The following poem was written by a Vietnam Era Veteran who also served a tour in Korea, '74-'75. All stories and poems I have seen written by Vietnam Veterans have a common theme, and that is honor and duty to one's country.

I feel that this is something that is not understood by today's generation, except for the troops now serving. By displaying these poems, I hope to inspire some of our young men and women to understand the concept that once was shared by all Americans at one time.


Country Boy
by Kerry Leight

In a quaint lil' town,
with woods gathered `round,
lived a young boy of Irish decent.

Full of young man's schemes
and pipe cloud dreams,
but mostly of honest intent.

He liked quiet places
and wide open spaces,
he liked to walk all alone.

So, oh what a pity,
that he yearned for the city,
for the country was always his home.

In his 18th year,
giving way to his fears,
he gave two years to "Uncle Sam".

And with all of his might,
he learned how to fight,
staying a year in Vietnam.

This "military hell",
with it's screaming shells,
it frightened him to the bone.

After the heat and the fear,
for nearly a year,
this country boy finally came home.

Then he sat down in thought,
but it all came to naught,
for he had been such a fool.

With your high IQ,
some are wiser than you,
for some things aren't learned in a school.

© 1993 Kerry Leight

Please visit the following websites to find out more about Vietnam Veterans. Thank you!

Visit Other Patriotic Sites

America's Unsung Heroes
This page is dedicated to the POW/MIA's from the Vietnam War who are from my hometown. These brave heroes never came home and their bodies were never recovered. Where are they? Don't they deserve to be buried on American soil? I have 'adopted' these men and the pages will remain until they all come home.

This page includes the names of all the men on the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. I also included the inscription that appears on the wall in Penns Landing. Even though I moved away years ago, Philadelphia is the city I grew up in and where I attended school. These men from the City of Brotherly Love sacrificed their own lives for freedom. This is my way of honoring them.

God Bless America, Her Veterans, and Our Troops

My tribute to the greatest country in the world, and to the heroes who fight for my freedom everyday. I am proud to be an American, and I am extremely proud of my fellow Americans who put their lives on the line fearlessly and selflessly, every day, to make America the greatest country in the world.

God Bless Our Vietnam Veterans

This is my page for Vietnam Veterans, to give them the Welcome Home! and Thanks for Serving! they never received, but deserved at the end of the Vietnam War. A page could never undue the harm done to those returning heroes who were disrespected and dishonored by their fellow citizens.

Proud To Be An American
This page is brand new. It is my tribute to the United States of America. I have included everything that makes our country great. It is brand new, so please feel free to stop by from time to time. It also serves as an educational website where kids can find out how lucky they are to have born in America.

VV Memorial Wall 'Gathering of Eagles', March 17, 2007

On St. Patrick's Day, thousands of Veterans and US troops' supporters gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC to oppose the large 'march on the pentagon' headed up by some of the most dangerous radical groups in our country.



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