‘Welcome home, my brothers and sisters’

Skip Klabon did two tours of duty in Vietnam, the second one ending when he was blown off a tank with injuries to his hip and back. Some 50 years on, his connection to the insidious reach of that long ago war has still not been severed.
It’s in a positive mode that Klabon now deals with Vietnam, and the thousands of men and women forever scarred by it. As a long-time volunteer at The Highground veterans memorial park west of Neillsville, he’s listened to their stories, and helped them sometimes take the first small step on the seemingly endless path to healing. The former Marine, from Colby, sees it as a continuing mission to which he and his fellow veterans have been assigned.
Klabon was one of the speakers at the Sept. 22 events commemorating the 30th anniversary of The Highground. Tied in with those events was a large yellow ribbon campaign throughout local communities, and a parade in Neillsville all meant to provide a “welcome home” for Vietnam veterans who never heard those words when they returned from combat in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Klabon was one of the Vietnam vets who had garbage thrown at him when he again touched American soil.

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