WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - It all started with Rick Learst, a Vietnam veteran, showing off photos he had taken to his grandson, Kaleb.
“He showed me his favorite picture from there and it looked pretty easy so I figured why not recreate it,” said Kaleb Wallace.
Wallace had been planning for a while to take a trip to Vietnam, fulfilling what he called his need for adventure. Once there he found the temple his grandpa had talked to him about and posed in the same position over fifty years later.
“I never believed that he was going to do what he did,” said Learst, “as far as reenacting the photograph.”
“It was kind of surreal to be there and to know that he stood in that same spot a long time ago,” added Wallace.
It’s been five months since Kaleb returned from Vietnam, and while the photo itself holds special meaning for the family, it’s helped Rick heal in a way his family had never seen before.
“My husband, like many Vietnam vets, didn’t talk very much about his time over there,” explained Ruth Learst, Rick’s wife, “and since my grandson went over there, and sent so many pictures back, it’s been eye-opening for our family to know what happened over there.”
In the last few months, Rick said he’s been working on sharing more stories from his time in Vietnam. He also said he’s committed to visiting veterans in nursing homes, saying it gives them a way to talk about their experiences with someone who understands.
“I can really talk about now, without really hesitating,” said Learst.
“It seemed to me like it really touched his heart and it really, like, got him excited and got him really into it,” said Wallace, “which is awesome.”