Ronnie Lee Ratliff served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1970, traveling everywhere from Da Nang to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during his service. In 1998, he decided to go back so he could try to get past some memories in the most healing way he could think of: through helping people.
Ronnie helped to build an orphanage and he stayed from 1998 to 2001. After this healing trip, he felt so much better that he decided to help other veterans travel back to Vietnam so they too could find healing and peace.
Now, whenever Ronnie isn’t enjoying his Godfrey Sweetwater pontoon, he’s off helping other Vietnam veterans go back on these healing trips. He’s been doing this for the last 16 years and he’s not slowing down.
Being able to go back and see Vietnam as a beautiful country instead of a warzone has helped Ronnie and many other veterans immensely. It’s comforting and reassuring to look at the country and see that it is over and that they can move on.
“I know many other Vietnam vets who have gone back and are living there now,” shared Ronnie. “It’s funny because it’s the last place I thought I’d every want to go back and see.”
It was seeing World War II veterans and Korean War veterans return to their wars sites that give him the idea that it must have some healing effects. So far, it’s been one of the most successful healing processes for him since the war.