Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Local business owner shows appreciation for veterans

When Froggy Bottom Pub owner Hien Bui was growing up in South Vietnam, American troops were risking their lives to fight the communists attempting to take over her country’s government.

Thirty-two years after the conflict’s conclusion, she is showing her gratitude toward Vietnam veterans at her Pennsylvania Avenue pub.

Two-hundred Vietnam veterans, family members and supporters packed the Froggy Bottom Pub Sunday night to end a weekend of events honoring both Veterans Day and the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

“I just do it to show appreciation for Vietnam veterans,” said Bui, who is hosting the event for the seventh year. “We want to give them a thank you and show them gratitude.”

She added, “They are my heroes.”

Rich Sanders, president of VietNow, a Vietnam veterans organization, said they met Hien and her husband, Hoang Bui, in the District and the couple insisted on helping the VietNow organization host its Veterans Day fundraiser.

“We met them and became good friends,” Sanders said. “We were talking with them for a get together. There was no argument.”

The Froggy Bottom gathering has expanded from a small membership drive to a large VietNow function.

“It is a reunion,” Sanders said. “They look forward to it.”

Dan Jensen, an Army infantryman in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, said the events such as the Froggy Bottom gathering allow the veterans to unabashedly talk about their experiences in Vietnam without fear of retribution.

“It is an ego trip.” Jensen said. “We are proud to be veterans. Events like this prop it up.”

John Keefe, who served in Vietnam between 1968 and 1969 as a first lieutenant in the Army, said Bui’s event is a healing experiences for the veterans.

He said he saw a woman at Froggy Bottom who was an Army nurse from the 312 Evacuation Hospital where he was treated for shrapnel injuries.

“She may have been my operating nurse in 1968,” Keefe said. “She was there the same time I was. I remember looking into her blue eyes and asking if I was okay.”

In addition to veterans, members of the American Gold Star Mothers and country singer-songwriter Paulette Carlson were present at the Pennsylvania Avenue pub.

Carlson, who performed earlier in the day for Veterans Day ceremonies, said it is important to remember and support the Vietnam veterans.

In 2005, Carlson recorded a song called “Thank You Vets,” which she said she wrote after her brother, a Vietnam veteran, was hospitalized for hepatitis C.

“This is a thank you they never received,” Carlson said. “Even though the war was unpopular, they stood up and fought. The war was hell and they stood up to fight.”

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