While you were in hell I was playing in the San Francisco fog. I had no idea what was going on except I remember seeing occasional images of war on TV at night. I was a child and only interested in when my dad would let me turn the channel so I could watch a cartoon.
But that was when I was a child. I grew and learned and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that so captured my attention brought me around again to that war from before….to Vietnam.
I’ve had the pleasure of doing many tribute photos for those who are currently serving or recently retired but thoughts of the veterans from Vietnam are always on my mind. To that end, as an acknowledgement, a small but heartfelt token of appreciation I created a tribute photo for you specifically.
Welcome home and thank you.
The following quotation written by Gary A Linderer is from the foreword of a book by Gary Dolan called Of Their Own Accord. Gary Dolan served as a platoon leader with Company C, 75th Infantry (Ranger). It’s a not to be missed novel based on actual events. You can find it here http://oftheirownaccord.com/Book_Page.htm. I included this quote because Gary is more eloquent than I and his words painted the picture better than my own.
“The Vietnam War divided our nation on a scale not witnessed since the Civil War. Its long duration and tragically high number of dead and wounded broke the will of the American people and turned them against the war itself, and in many ways, the men and women who fought there. As a result, these disenfranchised veterans were never accorded the recognition and appreciation their sacrifice deserved. An entire generation of American veterans have been dishonored and mistreated because of a collective national policy that failed from its inception. Yet, no generation before them can claim to have fought with more dignity or more valor than these maligned soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. Their sense of duty, equal to that of their fathers and grandfathers, can never be challenged.
Their stories were late in coming due to the unpopularity of the war. Early apologists and anti-war authors fed into the national psyche that the victory had been lost and our young warriors had failed. The truth was suppressed to support the populist embarrassment over a final withdrawal that smacked of defeat. It took more than a decade after the war had ended before its veterans, proud of their achievements, began telling what had really happened in the jungles, rice paddies, and mountains of South Vietnam. Only then did we discover that valor and honor were as common in this war as they had been in every war before it.”
*In 2007, both the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate passed resolutions proclaiming March 30th as National “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”*