Skip to comments.MEMORIAL DAY 2003-#4--"WELCOME HOME!!!!"
Posted on 05/24/2003 9:37:21 PM PDT by redrock
By themselves....they are powerful words. Conjuring up images of family....of your mother and father....sisters and brothers....of being away for a long time...and having them so glad that you're back.
Together.......the words can be so powerful that they can actually heal.
I enlisted in the United States Army when I was 17.
I had already graduated High school....and had been taught from the time that I was born that each of us has a duty.
A duty to serve and protect our Nation....which in reality is serving and protecting our families...and our way of life.
Because of my Religious Beliefs..(and because I was 17...and Positive that I was right) I was granted conscientious objector status ...and viola!!! (at least in Army terms) I became a Medic.
After training I asked to be sent to Vietnam.....and I served with 1st Cav for 2 tours...where I quickly learned some difficult lessons.
The least of which is that after 2 months in the field....I started to carry a weapon..(although I'm still not convinced that a worn out .45 is a real weapon...instead of just a REAL loud noisemaker)
I also learned that even tho I have never really been able to reconcile my Religion with War.....I HAVE been able to learn that some things ARE worth fighting for..(and they said I could never learn...sheesh!).
I also learned that what we were doing in Vietnam was trying (at least on the soldier level) to help a people have Freedom.That's one of the things worth fighting for...Freedom.
But...the war ended....with the Politicians tucking their tails between their legs and running away.....leaving the Vietnamese to suffer and die.
...and those same politicians...those same members of government....those same Liberal's who ranted against the war....also leaving us...the soldiers...to suffer and die.
To never be even acknowledged....to be treated as family members returning from far away.
To be welcomed home.
Well...life goes on...and most of us tried to get on with our lives....putting what we had seen and done in some private...secluded part of our souls. To be brought out only when the alcohol levels rose to a certain point....or when another member of our Fraternity was nearby..and we felt somewhat safe.
Sometimes we even lied about being there...denying it so that we wouldn't have to maybe endure someones hatred...or so that maybe we would get the job. In college classes we shut up....and let the Liberal Professors spout off. Never trying to deny what they spewed.....as we were unsure of our place....since it seemed to so many of us that no one wanted us around...that they didn't want our memories of another time and place. That they didn't want us contradicting THEIR version of the Vietnam War.
Time passed....and most of us made peace with what we had seen and done. Most of us, in various degrees, put our memories in a safe place...covered over with scabs and scars.
For me...I never talked about those times.I had put those memories in a safe place...guarded with walls.
...and then one day...I read in a newspaper in Southern Utah...that a thing called a 'Moving Wall' was going to be in a nearby town. A small copy of that Black Granite Wall in Washington.
My stomach churned....but I knew that I needed to go.
To walk along it's length and re-visit the people I knew to be on there.
To say hello....
I got to the park where the 'Moving Wall' had been set up...with my daughter..(who was 4 at the time). I sat in the car for over an hour....trying to gain the courage to face that wall..(and trying to explain to a very patient 4 year old just why we were just sitting there).
Finally...I could get out of the car...and walking towards it felt like moving thru the worst Vietnamese mud. It felt like it took years just to go a few yards.
When I got close to the wall ...I started to see the names...and my heart was racing and I was sweating like I had never done so before. I was crying...I couldn't hold it in...and then...the moment of my personal Deliverance arrived.
I felt a touch on my arm...and I looked down into the face of a 9 or 10 year old little girl with a hugh grin on her face.
She asked me if I had been in Vietnam.
I said yes.....and then she said the words that healed...that allowed the scabs and scars to be taken away.
Welcome Home redrock and all Vietnam Veterans. Thanks for sharing your personal story redrock. Tears welling up in my eyes. God Bless
Although not quite the same, I have been enjoying the looks on the troops' eyes here as they get word that they get to go back home.
Funny thing is....I have ALWAYS believed that.
All that I can promise is that I will do my best....and that next year it will be better.
Welcome Home, redrock, and thank you for your service to our country.
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