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I just finished coming back from the 101st reunion in Hampton Roads, VA. While there I spoke with veterans of WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq.

Some war stories were told about conditions and fighting that took place in all of those countries and yet though being there were similarities in the fear, loss of friends, and what toll it took on them personally, I sensed a real difference in the pride with which each different war veteran took in his/her service.

I also noticed a real difference in the attitude of each generation towards the other and though words such as "brothers in arms" were used frequently I couldn't help but feel that these were used without real feeling. I do not believe that the different war veterans clearly understood what the others had gone through and that created an air of indifference that was evident to me and a couple of others that I spoke with about the matter.

Though this reunion was suppose to be about the "Screaming Eagles" which conjures up the idea of paratroopers jumping into fight the enemy, many Viet Nam vets were actually "legs" as are the Iraq veterans. This change in the unit creates a different sense of pride for those who went the extra "gut check" to get a set of silver wings and who took that pride into battle.

I also noted that those from the WWII era and Iraq era had a better sense of comrade ship with their fellow soldiers because they trained and served together for longer periods of time and thus had better personal and longer relationships. Admittedly, many, if not most, Vietnam Vets served short periods of time with others due to the transitory nature of the Viet Nam assignment and since most of the men never trained or served together in the states long lasting relationships were few.

I myself found no persons who I knowingly served with at the event and have not been able to locate them during my lengthy internet searches.

I believe that once the WWII and Vietnam Veterans pass away and its long history of being an "airborne fighting unit" so will the real esprit de corps of the unit and its annual get togethers.

Sad, but though wars and death bring personal tragedy to all who serve, it does not bring real "brotherhood" because that can only endure with and in people who are truly of the same generation.

Larry Fuller