The drinks flow freely at the bar on West A Street.

The camaraderie and laughter, too, move through the air like a current. 

The war stories are harder to come by.

Sheryl Wright would know. As the bar manager at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3606, she's served drinks for about a year.

But her ties to veterans and the post on the west edge of Lincoln are as old as some of the bottled-up war stories that are rarely ever uncorked.

"I've known these people forever," said Wright, who has been involved in the lives of veterans for over 50 years.

It started with her father -- a World War II veteran who saw the beginning and the end of the war.

He was at Pearl Harbor when Japanese kamikazes ambushed the U.S. Navy. 

He was at the Battle of the Bulge, too, as Allies continued to push toward Berlin.

Wright's husband was a serviceman as well, years later, during the Cuban missile crisis.

But it was the Vietnam War that was Wright's war. She was friends with many veterans who trudged home to find an unwelcoming nation.  

That was the case for Vietnam veteran Tom Vonfeldt, who was denied entry into a VFW post in 1969 because of the taboo surrounding the war.

But now, decades after Vietnam, Vonfeldt and other veterans converge at the VFW in order to build a community. 

A community where younger veterans like Kevin Ricky, who served from 1997 to 2000, have a place to drink a beer and watch a movie. 

A community where veteran Jim Milburn can find support as he tries to overcome the effects of chemical warfare he suffered in Vietnam.

A community where Post Commander Earl Motschenbacher can put together steak nights and play in a band for dances.

"The Post is a place to meet and talk and get to know each other," Wright said. "It helps them mentally and physically."

No matter the reason, the post is there for the veterans, Wright said, and even though many of the scars of war will remain, veterans can still latch onto what the VFW will always offer: community. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7214 or zhammack@journalstar.com

On Twitter @zach_hammack.

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