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Kentucky veteran planning to honor POWs with memorial wall

By KEITH LAWRENCE | Messenger-Inquirer | Published: August 5, 2019

OWENSBORO, Ky. (Tribune News Service) — Rodney Bond, a Henderson veteran, is trying to raise more than $100,000 to build a wall at the Henderson Fairgrounds with the names of every prisoner of war in the Vietnam war.

Official U.S. figures show 1,611 American are still unaccounted for — 1,258 in Vietnam, 297 in Laos, 49 in Cambodia and seven in China.

Another 58,220 were killed and 153,303 were wounded in the war, according to official tallies.

"I never set foot in Vietnam," Bond said. "I was in the Navy. But I saw how the men who were there were treated when they got home. Spit on. Called 'baby killers.' "

He said, "I couldn't get a job when the war was over."

The idea of the men — like Col. Charles Shelton of Owensboro — who never came home from captivity in Southeast Asia still bothers him, Bond said.

"I never got over how we left so many men behind," he said. "We paid a high price over there."

He wants to build the POW/Missing in Action wall so people won't forget those men, Bond said. He envisions a wall 80 feet wide and 15 feet high in the center. Or maybe a shorter wall that stretches out a longer distance.

But that's going to take more than $100,000, Bond estimates.

So, he's bringing "Rockin' for Heroes," a three-day event to the Henderson Fairgrounds on Friday through Sunday in hopes of raising $20,000.

Bond said he's had three children in the military, all involved in the nation's wars.

He said he's been working with homeless veterans and those with post-traumatic stress disorder for the past five or six years and created a nonprofit called Heroes Outreach Service Provider.

Bond said he's hoping Gov. Matt Bevin or someone from his office can be at the event.

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