Lance's Journal: A Vietnam Veteran's Vision Becomes Reality, Aug. 18, 2014

Bruce bounds grew up in Lincoln.

He enlisted 4 months before he graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School in 1966.

Shortly after he graduated, Bruce headed off to serve his country in the Vietnam War.

Bruce left Lincoln a boy...and came back a man.

"This has been with me for many years. It's a thought that I had been trying to get out but didn't know how to get out," explained Bruce.

And that's where Chris Kretz comes in, "I knew this would be a challenge."

Chris is an artist for Abante Marketing in Lincoln, "Fate brought him to me so I wanted to see it through and help him see it through."

Bruce's mission was to translate an image from his heart to his mind to paper and eventually a t-shirt that would be worn his fellow vets at the 30th reunion. Bruce says, "I think a lot of Vietnam vets feel this way, it's something that tugs at us. There's a part of us that's still in Vietnam. Obviously, we're here, but how do you get that feeling out? How do you get it on paper?"

Chris had the skills to make it happen, "I made a promise and I wanted to deliver."

Chris accepted what one might call a patriotic challenge, "What we were trying to portray as far as a Vietnam Veteran is you can go back to World War I, World War II, even the Korean War, soldiers were heroes, you sign up to go to war, you're a hero. Vietnam vets, when they came back they weren't welcomed."

Bruce described what he wanted to see in the image, "There had to be in the eye of the younger guy that far away look. Because I think not only did you see that in Vietnam, but I think you see that today in a lot of Vietnam vets...there's that stare."

After more than 4 months of revisions, Chris says this art from the heart was finally complete, "I finally got it done and sent it to him and he was blown away..his dream finally came true."