Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Veterans Day 2015 - Thank you for your service.

I remember sitting in front of the TV and watching.  Operation Homecoming had begun and our POW's were finally returning from Vietnam.

 Navy Captain Jeremiah Denton stepped to the microphone at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and spoke for all the POW's on that first plane.  He said, "We are honored to have served our country under difficult circumstances."

Yes, difficult indeed.   In 1966 it was Captain Denton who first let us know that our POW's were being tortured.  While being filmed for propaganda purposes he managed to spell out the word torture in Morse Code by blinking his eyes.
Between February 12 and April 4, 1973 almost 600 POW's returned.  Like many Americans I sat and waited until I saw "my" POW return.  I had worn a POW bracelet for Captain Hubert Walker, Jr.
I don't particularly care for politics.  I jokingly refer to politics as a necessary evil in a democracy.  Recently I listened in dismay while one of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for President spoke of former POW and current United States Senator John McCain.  He stated, "He is not a war hero."  When this candidate received some boos he backtracked slightly and made one of the stupidest comments I've ever heard.  "He's a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren't captured."

Senator McCain spent over five years as a POW in Vietnam after ejecting from his aircraft when it was hit by enemy fire.  In the process he broke a leg and both arms and was knocked unconscious.  He landed in a lake and came to and was able to activate his life preserver with his teeth.  He was dragged to shore by some Vietnamese.  One of them shattered his right shoulder with a rifle butt.  He was bayoneted in the abdomen and foot.  He was later put in solitary confinement and tortured.  You can read about it here.
I guess it's difficult to appreciate their service if you were fortunate enough to never have to worry about being drafted.  Anyone that had parents who could afford the cost of college could stay in school indefinitely with student deferments as long as they were full time students.  Part time students were not deferred, so if someone had to work a full time job in order to afford college they were out of luck.  There was a good chance they'd be drafted.
While this candidate for President/Commander In Chief led a carefree life as a college student our POW's were being tortured.  The troops on the ground were men that had been drafted and were mostly from poor or working class families.  Very few came from upper class families.  You can read about the unfairness of the draft here

The Vietnam war was an unpopular war that we were never going to win.  The draft was terribly unfair.  Way too many lives were lost.  Many are still missing.

Sadly, men coming back from Vietnam were usually not greeted as heroes. Back then no one said, "Thank you for your service."

I apologize.  I was one of those people.  It never even occurred to me at that time to thank anyone.

I was brought to tears when I heard Senator McCain disrespected by this particular candidate.  It meant that Captain Hubert Walker, Jr. was also being disrespected.  It meant all of the Vietnam POW's were being disrespected.  I am so sorry.  None of you heroes deserved that kind of disrespect.

I know this is long overdue.

To everyone that served during the Vietnam War...



  1. Betty, first of all, thank you for stopping by my blog as often as you have. I appreciate your friendship here very much. As for Vietnam, my sister, lost half the boys in her 1966 graduating class. I worked with a very liberal woman, years ago and she once asked if I was still mad at Jane Fonda for her actions during the Vietnam War. I said "Damn right I am still mad!" How dare these celebrities with their privilege and wealth carry on so! I thank those Vietnam vets too. I My sister ex lost his battle with drink and whatever else demons attacked him from that war. My cousins lost their daddy, he was in his 30s. He died from cancer as a result of the Agent Orange. Oh the stories I know. My mom's cousin lost her only son James Turner, he was a USMC man. SO heartbreaking. That war is so near and dear to my heart but I salute all Veterans today past and present. Thank you for sharing and I believe, although we have had so few, that you should not be allowed to hold any government office unless you served this country. My thoughts only. I do not believe any patriots are in office currently. These buffoons get on those debates and talk about nothing of importance, some only showcasing themselves and others saying cut the military budget. why don't we cut....argh......I get so upset by it all and as my mother would say, trust God and go pray. Have a beautiful day Betty.

  2. I really liked to read this - I had no idea of all of it. My husband served in the army during the Vietnam War - but he was a lucky one. It was a difficult time for our country. I do thank all the Veterans.


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