Rick Otey and other veterans greet elementary school children after class.
Courtesy of Rick Otey

A cross-generational conversation with Illinois Veterans

There are nearly 800,000 veterans currently living in Illinois, each with a unique story and experience during their service and as transition back into civilian life. Ahead of Veteran’s Day, we spoke with four of those Illinois veterans about why they served, what challenges they face, and misconceptions about veterans and their experiences.

Bon Bui
Tim Meyers/Illinois Public Media

Oral History Interview: Bon Bui

Bon Bui was born in Quảng Bình, Vietnam in 1946 and fled to the South during the war.  He became a South Vietnamese Marine during the war and was trained by US forces in the United States. After Saigon fell in 1975, he become a prisoner of war for 10 years before finally relocating to America under an asylum program. Bui recounts the atrocities of war first hand.  

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