Friday, April 18, 2014

To Every Vietnam Veteran

“To every Vietnam Veteran.”

A Vietnam Vet who wishes to remain
anonymous sent this to a friend of mine.
It's a must read, and to the VET, thank you.

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.

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, 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

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
grand kids, another on the way, my son
is finishing his ph.d at Loyola, I was able
to semi-retire at 61.

This is re-posted from FACEBOOK and I credit it to Shannon Locke and is copyright 2014 by Shannon Locke. If I am not correct please let me know.

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