BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Veterans Day is a great day to simply say 'thank you.' Services were held all across south Louisiana. WAFB spent the day with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star veteran.
Roosevelt Gipson is a creative, gentle man who loves to talk about redoing things he finds along the road. Sergeant Gipson was just as creative, but really tough.
"You'll never be able to conquer fear, but you learn to live with it and that's the way I've always been. I've sent a lot of people in harm's way and some of them tell me, 'Sarge, I don't want to go out there today.' and I say, 'Why?' 'Because I don't think I'm going to make it, I'm scared.' And I would say that I'm scared too because bullet doesn't have a name, only 'to whom it may concern' and you don't know when you are going to get it and sometimes you come close and sometimes you don't make it," said Gipson.
Serving his country is literally in Sgt. Gipson's blood. Both of his grandparents fought in the Civil War, and an uncle fought for our country as well. Their photos are hanging on the wall in this half man cave, half museum. Sgt. Gipson knows the pain of earning a Purple Heart. He was shot and wounded in Vietnam.
"When I was recovering from my wounds, I never said that I hated America or that I blamed America. I just thanked God that he allowed me to live because a lot of my friends didn't make it," said Gipson.
Sgt. Gipson and his men were there with one Vietnamese man, who they were actually engaged in combat with. After all he was shooting at them.
"One of the guys wanted to go and put another bullet in him and I said, 'No, he's down.' And I carried that guy about a quarter of a mile and put him on a helicopter," said Gipson.
Gipson saved his enemy's life, and that enemy would come looking for him again one day, but this time, he wanted to thank him and the Vietnamese man joined the American's side.
"It reminds me that I had a rendezvous with destiny and I met my plight with courage," said Gipson.
Gipson also once helped escort Colin Powell.
"And he remembered me and I was shocked. I asked him to send me something to remember him by and one day I walked out to the mailbox and there was an autographed picture," said Gipson.
Many veterans have amazing stories to tell, and even though it sounds simple, you'll love what you hear.
"I was in the wrong place and the right time," Gipson said.