Friday, March 29, 2013

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

March 29, 2013
Colorado USA

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans

They were Momma's boys. Daddy's sons. High school sweethearts. Big brothers. Somebody's Dad. Football heroes. Baseball stars. Fresh. Young. Agile. They were the embodiment of apple pie and ice cream, fireworks on the 4th of July, home-spun, home-grown, farm-raised, city-slicker, chevy-driving, Harley-riding, blue-jeans-n-t-shirt America. They were our best and brightest.

BEFORE...
THEY WENT OFF TO WAR....

We shipped them away from America's promise, still wet behind the ears - out of our lives with tears, wrenched hearts and prayers. Duty called. They answered. They fought. They bled. They died.

THEN...
THEY CAME HOME FROM WAR...

Unwelcomed by a silent and disapproving homeland - no parades, no flags, no confetti, no back-slapping speeches. Some braved the hissing, spitting gauntlet of mindless protest and disrespect.

STUNNED...
THEY STEPPED BACK INTO A STARK AND THANKLESS WORLD...

Standing in the embrace of a tiny knot of family whose prayers were answered, they faced a world they once knew which held no welcome and little promise. The world did not understand, could not understand and did not care.

SILENT...
THEY SHOULDERED FAULTLESS BLAME...

Some of them proud. Some of them bitter. Some of them broken. Most of them defiant. All of them survivors.

FINALLY...
THEY WEPT...

In rage. In tears. In silence... for the brothers in arms who did not come home and for those who would never come home and for the selves they left in a distant land. With firm resolve and stoic calm - they buried some who never witnessed the appreciation of their countrymen that was ultimately too little, too late.

EVER TRUE...
THEY ROSE OUT OF THE ASHES OF A SHAMED NATION...

They perservered. They overcame. They survived. Some of them. Vets proved the other they were wrong by living the dream and fulfilling America's promise.

NOW...
THEY TEACH US DAY-BY-DAY

About heroism. About respect. About principle. About patriotism.

TODAY...
THEY GET THE RESPECT LONG OVERDUE...

And now we as a nation know what real humility is.

WELCOME HOME VIETNAM VETERANS!
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

WE WILL REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE NOT MADE IT HOME.
WE WILL HONOR THOSE WHO WILL NEVER MAKE IT HOME.

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
Today is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, designated so because this is the day in 1973 the last of our troops left Vietnam - although any survivor will tell you that is hardly the case. Not all of them (POW-MIA) returned. Currently there are 58,261 (most of them KIA) on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

March 29, 1973 - That was 40 years ago today and only in recent years has the day been designated as memorable or the Veterans themselves recognized as deserving of long overdue respect. They deserved better than the silence and derision that greeted them upon their return from the horrors of war. Such were the times... they say... they that do not know... they that do not get it. Lives changed both abroad and at home... forever.

Even now people forget... Soldiers do not wage war. Soldiers bravely fight war. Soldiers bear the burden of war. Soldiers bear the scars of war. Soldiers pay the toll of war.

No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic. -- Nixon

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