Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vietnam Veterans Day


Try to imagine this.  You go out to the airport this afternoon to pick up the wife or the mom or the child, and as you're waiting you notice a contingent of young men in uniform, just back from Afghanistan, trying to exit the airport.  

But they can't.  Hundreds of "occupiers" are standing out front, armed with rotten fruit and buckets of red paint and spewing hate on these homecoming troops.  The occupiers kick at them and spit in the faces of our young men who have just been on the most frightful journey of their lives.

Couldn't happen?  It did happen!  It happened to our Vietnam vets as they came home through airports and bus stations across America.  "Baby killers", they shouted as you walked down that street toward home.  While we shower our troops with praise and love and respect today as they come home from the Middle East, there was no welcome home for Vietnam vets.  No ticker tape parades either.

While politicians, who declared the war, hid behind granite walls at our nation's capitol, our troops were the most visible means for anti-war protesters to demonstrate their hate for a war they opposed.

It did not matter that 65,000 of our young men never came back.  It did not matter that over half a million came back without arms and legs; the sacrifice didn't count for those who professed to "love peace".  "Make love, not war" was their rally cry.  And no, unlike today's voluntary force, Vietnam veterans had no choice except to serve because a mandatory draft was in effect.

Between 1965 and 1975 millions of our best young men rotated in and out of Vietnam.  There was no "welcome home" from America.  So a million of them, suffering from Agent Orange or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or just because America broke their hearts, dropped out.  They found cardboard boxes to sleep in on the streets of Chicago and Detroit.  They slept under highway bridges in California and Arizona.  Tens of thousands still do!

And so, this weekend (some on Friday, some on Saturday) America has declared the day to be Vietnam Veterans Day.  If you run into one you need not pay them any more honor than any other veteran.  Just say two words; "welcome home".  For thirty years now we Vietnam Vets greet each other with three simple words "welcome home brother".  For three decades it was the only "welcome" we would ever receive.

"Welcome Home".


  1. That was a very dark moment in our history, one that should really be shouted out loud about. I, for one am very sorry you had to go through that. I remember my cousin coming home at the Oakland Airport. He snuck off to a bathroom and changed into some street clothes (civvies) he asked my mother to bring him when he arrived. He was angry but felt shamed as well I think. Of all the wrongs I've witnessed in my life, I think that is one of the worst. "Here, let me put my life on the line for you so you can shit on me for doing so". BTW my cousin was one of those you mention who never pulled out of it and ended up dead a very young man as result.

    To you and all your Brothers in Arms, Welcome Home!! Thank You for your service bravely keeping me and mine safe and free!!

  2. Thank you Ken. Threre's alot of bitterness among Vietnam vets and it can never be disposed of. The hurt was so massive that we just can't swallow it. It will finally go away when the last of us are finally dead.

    My condolences for your cousin. For many death has proved to be a blessing.