Vietnam vet remembers being part of historic "Be All You Can Be" campaign - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Vietnam vet remembers being part of historic "Be All You Can Be" campaign

Lawton_For some veterans, the holiday is not about being a part of a large ceremony or group.  Instead, Tuesday was an opportunity for solitary reflection.  You may not know his name, but Retired Staff Sergeant Raymond Reynolds was the face of the Army, and in the national spotlight in the 1980s.  However, on Veteran's Day, he spent the day alone at Lawton's Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Twenty-five years ago, the Army chose Reynolds to appear on recruitment ads in the "Be All You Can Be" campaign.  "At first I never paid it any mind," he said.  "Then my friend woke me up while sleeping on the bus and seeing this huge poster while going into Fort Hood."  The image appeared on billboards and in magazines, and the slogan resonated with Reynolds.  "Pushing myself to do the best in everything," he said.  "To do better, to be able to lead my men, and just be better than anybody else - that was what I pride myself with."

He says he can't forget fighting in the Vietnam War.  Reynolds was shot six times, stabbed twice, and survived eight explosions, and says he comes to the Veterans' Memorial at Elmer Thomas Park about once per month.  He invited 7News to join him on this day of remembrance.  He says it's a sanctuary for him - a place to re-visit familiar names and symbols of his, and our Nation's, past.  "You can talk to any veteran that you want," he said.  "They will tell you in a minute, that, ‘If our nation calls on me, I would go back in a heartbeat and do it all over again.'  It's great.  It's a pride within ourselves that never leaves us no matter what we do."

Reynolds says he continues to feel honored to have been the face of the 1983 recruitment campaign, however, he says the true honor was serving his country, and now remembering the others who served.  "This is why we are here, free, because of these men that died," he said.  "The people that are still here walking to this day, they have to be honored because without them you wouldn't have all this."

Reynolds retired from the Army in 1993 after serving for 23 years.  He now works as a contractor at Fort Sill.  A couple of years ago, he returned overseas with the Army.  Reynolds went to Iraq shortly after the fighting ended, and spent 18 months doing clean up work at the International Airport in Mosul serving.  Even though the fighting was over - for the most part - he was shot and wounded while there.

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