I guess every generation has its war. For mine, it was Vietnam.
I was so angry about that war and I could not have told you why………other than my well-intentioned, but naive Flower Child commitment to nonviolence.
Even though I could not have justified it with any political understanding, I marched and protested and wrote passionate letters and participated in every way I could think of…believing with my whole being that we could actually stop the war.
Though I lost my innocence back then, as well as many friends, I never lost my belief in pacifism.
It took going to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in DC some time in the early 1980’s for me to finally be able to make room in my black and white thinking about the Vietnam war. I had never even considered how many of those names on the Wall represented men and women who chose, out of honor and deep-held passions of their own, to fight for our country.
I was still biased, and so angry on that trip. I made pencil etchings of 17 names, “brothers” from my childhood, that had served in Vietnam…but did not make it back home. Each one of them had been drafted.
Now, this print of Lee Teter’s Vietnam Reflections War Memorial Poster sits in the most prominent position in my office/Group Room. Everyone who comes to me for therapy is greeted by this powerful image. Such a small homage to all those we lost, in that war, as well as because of that war.
We didn’t know back then what we know now. So many of us would do it all differently…
especially the welcoming home part….
This is one of my favorite videos ever.
I ask for forgiveness for not knowing this back then.
And I dedicate this post, with deep gratitude for their service, to the following people I am blessed to have had in my life. Most, but not all, served during the Vietnam War.
Colonel Louis Ford (Tad)-United States Air Force
Thomas Alvin Bessey-National Guard Mounted Cavalry
Jean McMaster Bessey- US Navy WAVES
Captain Brian Lee Ford-US Air Force
James Fletcher-US Army
Colonel James Kowalski
Colonel James Sampson
Colonel Bill Head
Captain Roy Gurd
Jerry and Jennifer Niehaus
Carol’s first husband
Lenore’s first husband
(I know I am leaving out some names…so sorry)
PS Sorry I could not get WordPress to work yesterday so this post is a day late…
12 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day 11/11/17”
so moving- thank you for sharing
You’re welcome. This day, each year, for me even more than Memorial Day…for some reason. Maybe because of the way I treated those returning Vets all those years ago. I never threw Pigs Blood on anyone or called them “baby killers”, as so many others did. But dancing around with a wreath of flowers on my head and tossing daisies at them I’m sure was not a great “Welcome Home” either…
What a beautiful tribute. Both have passed away now, but I had a life-long friend who served in the Navy in Viet Nam, and my husband served in the Army. Both men told such similar stories of being persecuted after they came home, and basically the whole country turning its collective back on them and their brothers in arms. My husband was perhaps the more scarred by his time there, he came back with PTSD, an addiction to marijuana and later he died from heart problems exacerbated by his exposure to Agent Orange. My friend died a few years after hubby, and he always said he wanted to write a book about his experiences in the Navy, but sadly he never did. And I think remembering caused him a lot of pain too. Those brave soldiers are at last getting the thanks, recognition and respect they deserve for doing a job nobody wants to do, but which brave souls will for the sake of freedom. Thank you for sharing that video. I have some tears to wipe away now. And I’m sure both my friend and my husband are smiling down, pleased that they too were honored.
Oh wow, I am speechless. Thank you for this. Comments are really the only way we find out if what we write has any meaning or impact. Thank you, thank you. And I am so sorry for your losses.
You were so very kind to include my husband in your blog Kathie. Jim has always considered his service a privilege.
I am deeply moved both by what you wrote and the video. A moment to pause, remember and reflect.
Again, thank you so much.
My father-in-law, brother-in-law, husband, three cousins, best friend, seventeen neighbors all went to Nam. My father and brother-in-law both went multiple tours. I lost most of them (our neighbors and one cousin) in the war as the rest came home. They were all so damaged by whatever it was they saw, heard or did over there. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute to them.
No, thank YOU. And thank those who returned for me also.
Just did..said it to my hubby when he woke up for the night shift.. He still tears up when anyone says that and he said to send you a virtual hug. (((choosing))) consider yourself hugged.