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Films at library make veteran reflect on Vietnam

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Hays Public Library's inaugural Veterans Day film festival Saturday drew but a handful of people.

One of them was Arden "Kolb" Kobler, who sat through all four films, watching intently, occasionally taking notes.

"I think that's my tribute," said Kobler, who started watching at 9 a.m. and was there until the last movie finished almost eight hours later. "I'm not sure why I'm here. Just remember."

Kobler is a Vietnam veteran, serving in the Army from 1969 to 1971.

"I was a proud draftee," he said.

The first film of the day was a World War I movie called "The Dawn Patrol," starring Errol Flynn. Next up was Clint Eastwood's World War II film, "Flags of our Fathers," about the Marines who famously hoisted the American flag on Iwo Jima. The next movie was an early Korean War film, "The Steel Helmet," about a veteran sergeant and a Korean boy thrown together in a dangerous situation. The final film was from the Vietnam War, "Rescue Dawn," about an American pilot who is shot down, captured and later escapes.

All four films had meaning for Kobler, who usually avoids war movies.

"I don't do it very often," Kobler said softly, his eyes growing moist. "Just this time of year."

As he was getting ready to leave after the final film, Kobler said he was glad he decided to come.

"I think so, I really do," he said. "Something to get past."

Kobler, who is semi-retired after he and his father ran a Jeep dealership in Hays for many years, fills some of his time by volunteering to drive veterans. He made sure to take time out Saturday to watch. He just wished there were more people there to join him.

"I don't understand it, I just don't," he said of the sparse crowd. "Maybe you just had to be there.

"Lot of memories."