East Huntingdon vet’s widow glad to see improved care for those who served |

East Huntingdon vet’s widow glad to see improved care for those who served

Mary Pickels

An East Huntingdon widow of a Vietnam War veteran said she is glad to see returning veterans being treated better than those of her husband’s era.

Karen Hauser has become an advocate of sorts for that treatment and encourages veterans of all ages to access the services available to them.

Hauser, 60, speaks fondly of her late husband, Robert Hauser, who died in February at the age of 64.

Drafted in 1969, Hauser sent home to his parents a poem he wrote called “Why.”

Karen Hauser said the piece was published in a local newspaper and displayed at his funeral service.

With Veterans Day approaching, she thought his words a timely reminder of veterans’ sacrifices.

“It starts, ‘Take a man, then put him alone, put him 12,000 miles from home,’” Hauser said.

It went on to address the burning of draft cards, the planting of protest signs on the White House lawn, drug use and some of his generation’s refusal to serve.

The poem then states, “And I’m supposed to die for you.”

Hauser returned home in 1971, and the couple married in 1972.

“That was a bad time to come home from war. Those guys had it really rough. There were no ticker tape parades for them. … They were called baby killers and spat on,” she said.

Soldiers went from wearing “jungle greens” to returning home with no debriefing, Hauser said.

Her husband worked at the Edgar Thompson Steel Works and tried other jobs. Ultimately, he became a truck driver, where the avid outdoorsman did not have to be confined to an office or plant, she said.

He later served with the Army National Guard as a recruiter.

Her husband spoke little of his time overseas, and declined to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, she said.

“He didn’t want to see someone’s name on the wall that he might have known,” she said.

Her husband worried about wearing a hat she bought him because it read “Vietnam Veteran.”

He was surprised, she said, when people would come up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his service.

“Every time I see a serviceman, I shake his hand and tell him ‘thank you.’ It’s respect they deserve,” Hauser said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.