The Veteran War Protester

Posted on February 2, 2012

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I am about to enter into an area for which I am not sure how I will come out of it. I have talked about War Protesters before. Those were civilian war protesters. This post will deal with Veteran War Protesters.

I hadn’t given a lot of thought to Veterans as war protesters. I started to watch “Born on the 4th of July” with Tom Cruise. After a several minutes I turned it off. I’ve watched TV coverage of Veterans throwing their medals away. I look at Senator Kerry and I want to barf. Not only because he threw his medals into the Potomac but because I don’t believe he earned half of what he got.  I believe he threw his away so no one would look into them.

Recently, I found out about another war protester. I will not mention his name. I found him featured in a video throwing his medals over a partition onto the Capitol building steps. My immediate response was outrage and disgust. This man was a brave man in Vietnam. He fought proudly. I couldn’t figure out how he could do that, He wasn’t alone. There were many more Veterans who did the same.

One of those veterans who fought gallantly in Vietnam and yet dispised the war was a guy we called “Little John”. John wrote a letter home to his Mom and Dad telling them about the war. About the things that happened and how he felt about it. He thought the war was wrong and yet it did not stop him from doing his job. Little John was killed before he could go home.

On the first day of every month, I send an email out to my Vietnam Comrades listing the men that were killed in action for that month. It is my way of honoring them. I start the email with the following:

I begin each month by posting our “Brothers who Gave All“. It is my way of Honoring them and to make sure they are never Forgotten.  The only regret I have in doing so is that these men left family and friends behind. We can only guess what these men would have done with their lives had they been given the opportunity. We, the ones who came home, have a lot to be thankful for. Let us all hold our heads up high and tell others that we are Damn Proud of being Vietnam Veterans. Let us shake the hand of EVERY veteran we see and say “Thank You for Your service”. Let us be civil towards each other and remember that we all carry our own Battle Scars. Let us support our Brothers and Sisters in battle today and pray that our government can learn that we are not the world’s policemen.

Always Honored and Never Forgotten

The last sentence of the main body goes: “Let us be civil towards each other and remember that we all carry our own Battle Scars”. I was reminded of this by a good friend. My wife told me to think before I speak and that each man does have his own scars. I have done this and I have come to the following conclusion.

A man or woman who fights the fight and afterwards decides the fight was wrong has that right. I can honor them for that. The throwing away of medals that one has earned I still can not grip. He or she had fought bravely for those medals. I know in their opinion they have the right to throw them away and I agree with that but I can not honor that. Most of these medals were earned through bravery and/or getting wounded. Some were earned for saving lives.  If one wants to throw away medals they received for killing than I can agree with that.

This man is still my Brother and I will always treat him as one. I will not hold his being a Veteran War Protester against him because that is what he believed in. What makes this man and men and women like him okay in my book is they fought the war first. They did not run away or burn their draft cards. They waited until after they served to make their views known. I wish they would have waited until after the war ended. There were brothers and sisters still fighting and to me that was not a time to protest.  At least by throwing their medals on the Capitol Building steps and not in the Potomac, this man was protesting the government.

This man who I am writing about is welcomed in my home anytime.

I communicated with this man the other day. He explained to me why he did what he did. I was moved by what he said. I had stayed in the Army upon my return from Vietnam and ended up be medically retired after 18 1/2 years due to an injury I received in  Vietnam. My family became my wife, son and other military members. Most of the men who came back from Vietnam try to reintegrated back into the civilian life. It was very rough on them. The “World” as the USA was called by Vietnam Veterans was against the war. As I sad in the Post about Protesters, They directed their anger against the Men and Women who served because thier country asked them to. I listened to what this man had to say and I remembered what another Veteran told me. He said the next morning after he got home he over heard his parents say, “There’s something wrong with him”. A lot of hometown people didn’t want any thing to do with you because “Vietnam” was not a war or because of many of the terms associated with being a Vietnam Veteran.

This man and others like him, those who served and then protested against the war, have nothing to be ashamed of. I should be ashamed for making the decision I made without talking to him first.

Give me your comment and opinions.

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