Today is a Veterans Day. A day to be thankful for all that we are blessed to share in the United States of America. A day to give thanks, and a day to remember those who fought the wars and never returned home.
I was blessed to have my husband return home. No, he was not the same man I married. I observed much just by looking in his eyes, and the quick way he looked away from me. I knew there was sadness, and although I tried to get him to communicate his pain, he would not. He was so different. Angry. Suspicious. More quick-tempered than he was just before he left for the fears and devastation of Vietnam. Jealous — more prevalent than ever!
Over the years, I’ve learned what triggers him, and even though I cannot understand it, I am quick to let him know his jealous rages and fears are not directed at me, nor are they acceptable; therefore, I don’t tolerate them. I simply walk away until the storm dissolves.
Today, I hugged him, wishing him a Happy Veterans Day. Today, we have a new generation of Veterans, and I hope our nation will appreciate them and treat them better than the Vietnam Veterans were treated when arriving home. I recall when my husband arrived home, I stood waiting at the airport in Atlanta, GA until his plane arrived at 2:30am. I bounced into his arms, ecstatic that he was home. When we drove to Charleston for him to see his family, the reaction and welcome home was “Oh…it’s you.” No bear hugs. No embraces. No thank you’s…No celebrations…only coldness…Not even a home cooked meal, cookies or his favorite cake…this from his immediate family! I wanted to scream at them so they would welcome him home…
Today, my wish is that when a soldier returns from a tour of duty that his family embraces him or her and makes them feel as if they were missed and appreciated. I suppose we, the families of the Vietnam era, remember how cold and uncaring our Veterans from Vietnam were treated. At airports they were shunned…sometimes spat upon. Let us pray that this never happens again. Only last week on the evening news I heard about a bunch of soldiers returning home via airplanes. People from first-class of the flight actually acted first-class – giving up their first-class service and comfort so the soldiers could fly in first-class. This story made me proud.
Maybe the United States learned something from the Vietnam era. Life is so precious, and when we have life, we must cherish it. For Veterans, I say a simple thank you for your service and welcome home. I hope this Veterans Day 2013 is a joyous day for you and your family. Remember the good times and be thankful that today is a well deserved day of recognition for you. Happy Veterans Day, and Thank you for your service!