Today, Monday, May 24, The Vietnam Veteran’s “Run for the Wall” will be passing by Edwards. This is an annual memorial event, veterans of the Vietnam war band together… the event begins on the west coast and they pick up riders all along the way and ride to Washington to the Vietnam War Memorial Wall…. to honor their dead…those thousands of young men who died fighting for a cause that many of us of that generation….did not understand and grew very weary of…and began to ask questions…. Why? Is it a just war?
But no matter what conclusion you came to personally….It does not take away from the reality those men and women who went to Vietnam and died ….died for this country. This is America the president is the commander and chief of the armed forces, he can send our troops to the far end of the earth, he did …and they went.
It was a heartbreaking time in America’s history….the veterans of that war were not treated as heroes…no ticker tape parades for them as had been in previous wars. Many Americans treated the returning soldiers with distain….They blamed the soldiers….soldiers who thought they were fulfilling their duty to America.
And on into that long, long war…it became more and more unpopular among Americans…protests broke out in the streets. Protesters too, were wounded and some died for their cause…remember the young students at Kent State? Many young men of draft age went to Canada to avoid serving,
I shall get up from here in a few minutes drive to the Edwards, I 20 overpass, take photographs, and cheer for those aging, tattooed, pony tailed, bike riding, ole’ soldiers. On their way to Washington, to pay tribute to their dead. There will be hundreds of them…odds are I would know a few. Because my John was career army…. a Vietnam war veteran ..two tours….
At the time of the war, he was a soldier, but, he was also a father of a young boy. Once in a discussion with some of his army buddies, about the war, the protests and the protesters …John said, “I chose this… I will go where the tell me to go…but I will send Adam to Canada.” It was not an uncomplicated time for anybody….who was trying to be a patriot.
The war was hard for some the men who went, fought and came back too ….it did something to their mind… Many of the men, when they got back to the states were never the same. A few years after the war finally ended… John and I were driving past a food kitchen….scores of homeless men waiting on the sidewalk for the doors to open, waiting to get a hot meal. John said, with sadness in his voice, “Lots of those guys are veterans…that would be me if it hadn’t been for you and the kids” John’s heart went out to those men, he felt like they too give their life for their country.
When we began sending troops to the middle east, John and I were watching the news one evening, as young men were boarding planes to go…John began to cry…his big heart went to hurting again…War is hell….
I’ll see you next week