Today is Veterans Day. A day to give thanks to all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. A day for America to SALUTE our Veterans!
As the proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran, I confess — veterans hold a most special place in my heart. While traveling to areas I write about, as I rush around the airports, when I see a soldier dressed in uniform, I always place my right hand over my chest, moving it quickly down — to give thanks to them. If time permits, I will approach the soldier and say, “Thank you!”
When I flew to Hawaii in July, I sat behind two soldiers. I was proud to see that American Airlines permitted the soldiers to board ahead of everyone else, and they gave these soldiers ‘complimentary food and drink.’ How nice…after all, isn’t it about time?
Still, I remember how our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they left for their tour of duty, and when they arrived home. It is unfortunate that my husband was one of the troops mistreated and spat on as he arrived touching the soils of America.
Vietnam was a dreadful pain for America. Protests were held, people shouting to the veterans, calling them ‘baby killers,’ and such. Never will I forget those incidents. I cried when I saw this happen. It wasn’t the fault of our soldiers. It was a war…a war America learned a lot from, and fortunately, America changed a few things!
Now, troops ship out in platoons…not alone…on a plane. When my husband arrived home, he phoned me from Texas, telling me he would arrive in Atlanta, GA at 2am. “I’ll meet you there,” I said, excited…My husband was coming home. We were newlyweds, so if you are reading this, you can only imagine how much my heart fluttered with excitement.
Sitting at the Atlanta Airport for several hours, I waited in anticipation! To say the least, his welcome home was fabulous for both of us. Later, after we moved into our home in Mt. Pleasant, our son was playing with a neighbor’s child. Our son mentioned that his dad was a Vietnam Veteran. The woman living at the house heard my son. “Baby killer,” she shouted! “Your daddy is a baby killer.”
My son rushed home in tears. He was only eight-years-old. He could not understand her anger. I held him tight, reassuring him that Vietnam was a sad time in America. When he calmed down, I knocked on the woman’s door.
Let’s just say — my Julia Sugarbaker style kicked in. Never did we hear from that neighbor again.
Today, I am still a proud Vietnam Veteran’s wife, along with our son. Every Veteran’s Day, I make certain my husband is treated with love and respect. I always thank him for his service, and I hug him tight. After all, this is his day. Let us never forget the veterans we have lost, and let us all give thanks for what they experienced. My husband has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. I am proud to say, his rages appear to be decreasing. Thank goodness. When he does have a nightmare, or something forces his PTSD to kick in, I have learned to treat him with silence. As the wife, I cannot imagine what he experienced and he does not share those incidents with me. Still, I have all of his letters written to me — approximately 365 letters, still preserved as if they are new, wrapped with a blue ribbon. A few pictures are in those documents. I plan to send them to some military resource that might want to include them in Vietnam memories.
Today, I wish all of the Veterans Happy Veterans Day. America loves you, and we are so proud of you! Thank you for your service!