Gold Star Mom to perform Taps during event in Caro marking 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

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CARO, Michigan (WJRT) - (11/08/2017) - As the nation prepares to honor our veteran's this weekend, a mid-Michigan community is making sure those who served in Vietnam are not forgotten.

Everyday at dusk, this is where you'll find Caro City Manager Chris Olson, playing taps on his trumpet in front of City Hall.

'It was a misunderstood war," said Peter Diller,"these people came back and weren't treated well when they returned to the homeland."

Olson is playing taps every night, leading up to Veterans Day.

Diller, who helped train the South Vietnamese in the early 60's, is helping plan Saturday's commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam war.

"It gives them recognition for everything they did for our country," he said.

When Olson plays his trumpet on Saturday, he'll be joined by Caro resident Deborah Robinson.

Her husband Newton Robinson served during the Vietnam War by driving supply trucks to the front lines in 1967 and 1968. He died of cancer caused by agent orange in 2003 at the age of 57.

"He became very very ill very very fast and he only lived for 14 months before he died from the disease," Deborah said.

Her son Brian Robinson, who signed up to the join the Army while still in High School, was sent to Afghanistan as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne division in 2003 at the age of 18.

"He would parachute into hostile territory," she said, "maybe out of a helicopter I think, he didn't tell mom a lot of his things because that was just kind of an unspoken thing."

Robinson also served in Iraq in 2004. When he came back, Deborah says he was suffering from PTSD.

Brian died in 2012 from an accidental prescription drug overdose, his mom says he had been taking medication for his PTSD and combat injuries.

"When you love that deeply," Deborah said, "you have to decide, if you're going to be angry and sad every minute for the rest of your life, or you can try to find something that you feel helps or honors their memory, and it gives me a great chance to talk about him."

Deborah has now become an advocate for military families, and she's written a book titled, "Tough Guys...a Journey of Heroes" based on her own personal experience of dealing with loss.

So on Saturday, when Deborah picks up her trumpet to play echo taps with Chris Olson, she's have both her husband and her son on her heart.

The Commemorative event marking the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War will be held on Saturday, November 11th at 10 am at the Botanical Garden in Caro. There will be a pinning ceremony at Caro High School at 11:30 am.

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