I dare say there are millions of people born after l980 that have no memory of the Viet Nam war, what it cost our country and more importantly what it cost the men and women that fought in it. Many of the participants went to “the Conflict” because they were drafted. Others went out of duty to their country. Unfortunately almost all came back to jeers and were afraid to be seen in public with their uniforms on. I find that disgraceful.
I keep hearing the generation of military members who fought in WWII being called the “greatest generation.” I agree, but I think the term should also be applied to the Vietnam generation because they were forced to fight and support an undeclared war, no one came home victorious, and then they were mistreated when they got home. In my personal book, anyone that serves their country in the military deserves to be called great.
I have recently heard someone say, “I don’t think a person that wasn’t in the front lines of a war, should be called a veteran.” My mouth dropped open. It takes over 20 people in the back ground to support every man or woman on the front. Those people take orders, give up their personal lifestyle and may be told to change duties at any time. They are all veterans regardless of the job they did for the military, as are their families that get dragged along for the ride.
I am of the Vietnam war generation. I had friends that left and never came home. I have friends that went and came back to walk the streets as dead men because of the shame of what they had to do and the guilt for returning when their buddies didn’t. I have friends I have the privilege of spending time with every month who are just now talking about their experiences. I believe they all deserve a resounding thank you and acknowledgement for the service they gave our country.
I also know from personal experience if you happen to be someone who hasn’t any personal contact with a military member you have no idea why I feel the way I feel and may even disagree with me. That makes me very sad. So from me to any Viet Nam veteran out there, “Thank you for your service.” I know, freedom isn’t free.