The Arizona Republic

Vets feel new appreciation
Sept. 11 attacks, overseas war stir a resurgence of patriotism

Sherrie Buzby/The Arizona Republic
Barry Prowell was hit by a rocket in 1969 in Vietnam. People recently have been thanking him for his sacrifice.

By Charles Kelly
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 11, 2001 12:00:00

Former Army Sgt. Barry Prowell, 54, carries the scars of sacrifice. He wears a prosthesis where his right arm used to be, his left cheek is numb, and a tiny transmitter stuck to a magnet in his scalp aids the cochlear implant that restored some of his hearing.

The sacrifice he made seems to matter more to his fellow Americans now, Prowell says. He is one of several Arizona veterans who say this Veterans Day marks a time when service to country has regained its hold on America's heart.

On Oct. 19, 1969, he was caught in a North Vietnamese army ambush near Kontum in north-central South Vietnam.

He was struck by a rocket that broke his jaw, ripped open his left cheek, tore his right forearm to shreds, peppered his skull with shrapnel and temporarily paralyzed the left side of his face.

As a Vietnam vet, he is one of a long line of Prowells to serve in the military, going back as far as Col. William Prowell, who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Prowell said Veterans Day had always meant a lot in his family and in the blue-collar community where he grew up in Enola, Pa. But this year, since the Sept. 11 attacks and the start of America's war on terrorism, he believes the nation's support for veterans is higher than it has been in decades.

"Since September 11, I've been thanked personally by more people for my contribution (to America) . . . than I have been in 30 years," said Prowell, a manager at Information Network Corp., a Phoenix software company.

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2001 Charles Kelly

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