Adams, Cain and Byers know they are among the lucky ones who returned. From 1965 to 1975, more than 3 million Americans fought in the Vietnam War. Nearly 60,000 American combatants were killed, and more than 150,000 wounded.
Memories of those frightful years are disconcerting flashbacks, but those who survived are not apt to talk about the horrors of war. They prefer to remember the good times. “And there were some good times,” said Byers.
Byers and Cain had gotten together a few months ago, but at the time didn’t know where Adams lived. It had been nearly a half century since they were together.
“I was driving over around Casey County and saw Yosemite on a sign,” Byers recalled. Byers has a greenhouse and was looking for some plants.
“I recalled that my buddy ‘Bear’ lived in a Kentucky community by the name Yosemite,” reflected Byers.
“I stopped and asked at two or three places and at the last place I stopped they knew Cain and told me he lived right down here on 501,” said Byers.
After turning up a wrong road or two, Byers finally drove in Cain’s driveway. “I saw a Purple Heart insignia on a car in his driveway and I knew it was him.”
Byers said he knocked on the door and Cain’s wife answered. Turned out, Cain was in Danville that day. Cain and Byers later got together at Golden Corral in Somerset. They couldn’t figure out where Adams lived. They didn’t know if he were dead or alive.
By chance, Byers’ son, David, stopped by Adams Grocery. When Adams found out David’s last name was Byers and that he lived in Albany, he asked him if he knew an Otis Byers.
Matter of fact, David did. Otis is his father. This information eventually led to Tuesday morning’s meeting of all three Vietnam veterans in the parking lot at Cracker Barrel.