It was a mission close to Mike Rahill Sr.'s heart.
Rahill, a Vietnam War veteran and Hopatcong resident, and three friends spent the weekend honoring military servicemen for Memorial Day. The foursome hit the borough's parade Saturday before attending Blairstown's Sunday and Roxbury's Monday.
"It means a lot," said Rahill, 64, who brought his 1970 Jeep Kaiser M35A—known in military parlance as a deuce and a half—to each parade.
Rahill, Jeffrey Wojciechowski, 62, of Hopatocong; Frank Malone, 61, of Lake Hopatcong; and Frank Arminio, 65, of Lake Hopatcong; are part of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 327, which meets in Kenvil once a month. Rahill said the members of VVA don't discuss the war during meetings.
"No, we don't go back," Rahill said. "We don't talk about it. At something like [a parade], we'll talk about it. But we don't rehash everything."
Instead, Rahill said, the members talk about who they're going to help next. Rahill said the members travel once a month to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Lyons to bring former soldiers meals. They also make donations, Rahill said.
"If one of our members need help with oil or something, we'll put together money for that," he said.
Rahill said that Vietnam veterans live by the phrase: "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."
Hopatcong Councilman Mike Francis said Vietnam vets deserve more respect.
"It was a bad war. A controversial war," Francis said. "And those folks who went out there and gave up their lives and limbs never got the proper recognition. They came home not as heroes. They came home as villains and that was just because of the way our society had become.
"Still, they went out there and made the ultimate sacrifice, and it's about time we started recognizing that. It's never too late."