Welcome Home!

The other day I met a guy wearing a Vietnam Veteran hat. I told him that seeing all these old guys wearing Vietnam Veteran hats confuses me. I went to war with a bunch of kids and all I see wearing the hats are old farts. He laughed and said we need a parade.

I told him that when our local Air National Guard returned from the liberation of Kuwait, they had a parade and the Topeka Vietnam vets were asked to come and march in the parade for the one we didn't have. I did and felt like it was the welcome home we didn't get. It somehow satisfied my desire to be recognized in a positive manner and I no longer need to have a parade.

I guess I really didn't need as much as want to participate in a parade. I felt that I had gone to Vietnam when my country asked and did my job. I only killed people that shot at me and did my best to protect the men assigned to the unit I worked for. I was never assigned to any unit that had women so I didn't protect them but I would have had the occasion arised. The further I get from the dates I was there, the more the memories fade.

In Leavenworth, I was a probation officer for about 6 months. Several of my probationers were old guys from WWII and Korea. They would always use the excuse that war made them drink. No, you drink and need to stop trying to put the past away by hiding in a bottle. One old boy was a Marine and he was always using Guadal Canal as his excuse. I'm sure that he died with alcohol on his breath and the rants about the war on his lips. God what a waste of humanity. I really hope that he wasn't driving and take some good citizens with him.

I hope that you don't need a parade today to forget or to celebrate something in your life that wasn't the most pleasant thing you have ever done. Find something simple and enjoy it. I'm not sure what that will be for me but at least today I will do it sober.


1 comment:

  1. This was a beautiful post. I'm glad you got your parade. Anyone who has served their country deserves one. I remember sitting in American history class as a junior while our teacher told us more than what the book said about how Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home. I know I was not the only one choking back tears and feeling a deep sense of shame for what some of my countrymen had done to those they should have honored. I'm glad, too, that we seem to have learned a lesson from that and that now, even if people don't agree with the war, they don't blame the soldiers and (mostly) give them the respect and appreciation they deserve for their courage and service. Thanks again, MUD.