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Utah man finally receives customary hat for Vietnam veterans

Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 11, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — Wally Cox was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, but he was never able to receive his customary Stetson hat until now.

While it may seem like just a cowboy hat to some, the Stetson hat is important to Vietnam War veterans because it serves as a memento of their service.

Cox was finally gifted one by his brother-in-law.

"He said, 'I tried to make sure it was as genuine as possible,' since I was in an air cav unit in Vietnam, so he got this hat and presented it to me," said Cox.

He will still continue to wear his Vietnam War cap as his everyday hat. Cox is proud to be a Vietnam War veteran, but he said being sent from America to South Vietnam felt surreal.

"It felt like you were just set in place with no escape until you got your marching orders to go home," he said.

Once soldiers returned home from the war, Cox recalled that they were met with contempt because many Americans opposed the war morally.

"We weren't treated very well when we came home," he said. "Some soldiers coming home were spit on, cussed at."

However, he says times have changed for the better.

"I think it's more positive now," Cox said. "It's a shame though that some of them though are still maligned, but I'm proud to be an American; I'm proud to be a veteran."

Glenna Evans at the Summit Senior Center shows her support for veterans like Cox by honoring Flag Code.

"I noticed our flag about three months ago was very faded and ripped in several places, and I thought, 'No, we can't wave something like that in front of our building,'" she said.

So Evans, the widow of a Navy veteran, asked for permission to put up her husband's flag.

"Every time I go out there, I love to see it and I know he would love to see it too," she said.

Evans and Cox said they're thankful for the opportunity to celebrate veterans on Veterans Day, but we should celebrate veterans every day.

"When you see a veteran, thank them for their service," Cox said.