Saturday, May 4, 2013

Vietnam Vet sounds off

May 4, 2013

A Vietnam Vet sounds off... we know you are listening in Jane and we don't care if you don't care... (Cross-posting from a social media page)

To that one person who is protesting this war, thinking you are anonymous in a crowd among thousands ...

I know you. I met you many years ago.

You were the only stranger at my going away party in 1968 and, you offered this toast; "Here's to hoping you don't come back".

I know you.

As our troop bus headed for the plane that would take us to Vietnam, you, and hundreds of your highly organized “friends”, lined the street, spat at us and shouted "baby killers go home."

I know you.

You frolicked in Hanoi on a publicity stunt, giving aid and comfort to our enemy, betraying American POWs ...even while so many of my brothers were making the ultimate sacrifice. Yet, you were never brought to justice for that atrocity or even offered a sincere apology.

I know you.

With your delight of every GI body count reported through the American media, with your every protest of “make love, not war”, you emboldened our enemy... supported their cause, lengthened the war... resulting in even more Americans being wounded and killed.

I know you.

You were so pleased with yourself... your protests made me too ashamed go home at the end of my tour... to face my family... to even question my own patriotism. I thought I was fighting the noble fight... to free people... people I didn't even know, but who deserved freedom.

Yet, I told myself, even you have the right to protest, to dissent, to be free. I and my brothers gave you that right.

I know you.

For the next thirty years, you were there... reminding me of that shame. Laughing at my silent and hidden pain. Your enormous ego and arrogance never once allowed you to apologize for your words and actions. Or, to genuinely honor my fallen comrades.

Oh yes, I know you.

In fact, I know you so well that now, I no longer fear you... I pity you. Eventually, I did regain my pride, my patriotism and my self worth. I am content in the fact that I paid my dues to be an American... you did not. I looked into the eyes of those I fought to free and protect. I saw the gratitude.

You did not.

I accepted that we did not lose the war... we quit the war... because of people like you... making all that I and my brothers sacrificed moot ...meaningless.

I know you very well.

I have the warm memories of my fallen comrades whom, in the greatest act of humanity, gave their lives so strangers could have the chance to experience the wonderful sensation of being free... the same freedoms you had then... but did not earn... can't understand now, and will never fully appreciate.

You have nothing.

My conscience is clear for the millions who lost their lives because we left Vietnam... that the South Vietnamese lived for years under great hardships... because of you.

I know you better than you know yourself.

You hated our president more than you loved your country.

You are weak.

You thrive on being politically correct... not because you believe, but because you have nothing else to justify your weakness. Like the rest of your life, it's simply a game.

Now you say you support our troops, but not the war... that is an impossibility. And, you know it. Again, games.

You have paid no dues to be an American. To me, you are a non-entity, without cause nor voice.

Finally, you ignore the fact that true Americans remain loyal to America and it's defenders, no matter who is in the White House.

We are Americans...

You are a person with an incredible sense of narcissistic, self-righteousness, but, a person without a country.


NOTE:
I wrote this during the first Gulf War, when the protests against Bush started and Jane Fonda was promoting her new book. Once posted on Military.com, I got hundreds of responses. Many were positive and supportive. Most were vial. So I took the post down.

Even though I experienced all the above, this was not written from one person to one person. It is a composite statement of what all Vietnam Veterans experienced, to, all those who could not, or would not, understand the long-term effect of their actions. But, I did want to make it personal to the reader. And, no, I did not mean the only way one can “pay dues” to be an American is to serve. Of course, millions of Americans pay dues every day.

Bottom line, these people can no longer get to me because I no longer recognize them as Americans. I see them as the pests that invade a home. Cockroaches, hiding deep in the woodwork that swarm in the middle of the night to spread filth and breed other roaches.

Since 1969, I finished my degree, built a great career, traveled the globe, working at the corporate level with some of the world's largest companies, just celebrated our 40th anniversary, have two incredible grandkids, another on the way, my son is finishing his ph.d at Loyola, I was able to semi-retire at 61

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