No ticker parades awaited them on their return from Vietnam; no grateful nation was standing there.
No God bless America and the boys who fought her fight; only silence or scorn meet them from a disgruntled generation who had fought their own particular kind of fight. Such was the plight of proud men of valor returning home to a Nation that had rent her own heart and just wanted to forget it all. Never before at any time had American soldiers been perceived as anything other than the defenders of our freedom and the heroes of our Nation.
This is the sad reality of a generation who confused their hatred for the war with their feelings for the men who fought it. They held young men accountable for the decisions made in Washington by old men who knew better but done it anyway. The cost of this war in terms of human misery is staggering for sure but even more than this it cost the honor of America’s finest who deserved that honor no less than any other generation of fighting men. Who can know the horrors of this war better than those that were there and who could know better than they what it was like to come home to a Nation that could not find it in her collective heart to be grateful?
It has been nearly forty years past the end of the Vietnam War and yet I feel there is a lack of National closure. I know the Vietnam Memorial Wall helped nationally but for full closure I believe what is in order is to pay homage locally all across this vast Nation. I believe those homecoming parades are long overdue.