MONROE TOWNSHIP — It was 45 years in the making. Friday, two Vietnam veterans were reunited for the first time since coming home from the war.
Fred Yoder had been waiting for his army buddy a long time. The brothers in arms embraced for the first time since parting ways in the late 1960’s.
Only within the past week did Yoder and Leonard Niecgorski get back in touch and decided to meet at Yoder’s home near Selinsgrove.
The two joked a bit, renewing a bond they forged while serving together in the Vietnam War.
“Awesome, can’t explain it,” said Yoder.
“Something you hoped would happen,” added Niecgorski.
After all this time, Yoder and his friend he called “Max” lived in the same state, Max just hours away in Pittsburgh. Now they were reunited 45 years after they came home from Vietnam.
“I have butterflies right now, couldn’t eat this morning,” said Yoder.
“I had anxiety too. Can’t help but be excited and nervous about this,” said Niecgorski.
Fred Yoder kept photos, lasting reminders of that unpopular war. He served as an army scout alongside so many others who didn’t make it home and some who did but have since passed away.
“Have to wonder, we won’t get a chance to talk to them, and find out what went on in their life. Still looking for the other guys we think are still alive,” said Yoder.
But at least these two, separated for so long, have found each other again and will share memories old and new.
Fred Yoder wrote a song about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.