From 1967 to 1972, there was at least one Miller brother serving in Vietnam. For one brief month, there were even two in the same place. Once the brothers returned to Vietnam, they all settled close together in Tennessee. But for all their combined years, they had never been on a long-distance trip together.
"We get together every year for 4th of July and Christmas and stuff like that, but we've never traveled like this at all. We've never been to D.C., never taken a long trip. This is the first time we've flown together," said James Miller, one of the five.
Of the five brothers, two served in the Army. James and the two other brothers were all Marines.
"It was a great experience," James Miller said. "We were in Vietnam together and we got to go to the wall together. And some of our friends from our hometown were on the wall. One of my classmates. It was a great chance to see it and reminisce and thank God we were able to be there. And thank you to Forever Young Senior Veterans."
Forever Young Senior Veterans was founded by Diane Hight who wanted to help veterans find the joy and healing that her father, after returning home from World War II, never seemed to find.
"I watched him suffer all those years. It affected our family so greatly," Hight said. "I wanted to do something to help bring healing to our older veterans. I wanted to bring joy into their lives."
What started as a small wish-granting non-profit has expanded into Forever Young Senior Veterans. The organization still grants wishes for elderly veterans, but it also does trips all over the globe. In addition to the annual Washington, D.C. trip, Forever Young Senior Veterans has organized trips to Normandy, Belgium, Pearl Harbor, and even Iwo Jima. Next year they are planning to head to Korea and Vietnam.
While the trips bring veterans all over the globe, Hight explained that some of the most meaningful healing happens among the veterans themselves — and veterans find even more brothers than the ones they came with.
"Our trips are multiple nights — like the D.C. trip is four nights — so we can take things slow. But the best part of the trips is at night when they're in our hospitality rooms sitting around, building relationships, and telling stories," Hight said. "Because a lot of these men have never talked about it. But when you get combat veterans together — it doesn't matter if they fought in World War II or Korea or Vietnam. Because they were all in combat, they're brothers. That's where we see a lot of healing."
"If my dad had had something like this when he was younger maybe it would have changed everything for our family and for him," Hight said.
"Everything was beautiful," James Miller said. "We thank God we could be here."
Learn how to get involved with Forever Young Senior Veterans here.