Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

I struggled which direction to go with my reflection on Dad's Vietnam Reunion.  Many of you know how I feel about this, without a doubt.  But it's had me thinking for hours.  I came to the conclusion, that I need to preface what I will always support...Our Military. 

My girlfriend, Tricia, best described our trip to my Dad's Vietnam Veterans 589th Engineer Battalion Reunion as, "Fascinating".

Truthfully, there are no words to describe it.  But that's a darn good one.  Many of these men and women have finally started talking about their experiences in Nam.  And it's really no wonder it took so long:
That was what greeted us at the Veterans Memorial Museum in the Vietnam Room.  Knowing that my own Father experienced this firsthand really does something to me.  Frankly, it makes me insanely furious!  A few years ago, not long after September 11th, I got him a Vietnam Veterans hat for Christmas.  He'd never had anything like that before!  He's worn it, or one like it, ever since.  I refer to the current War because he said in some ways, more Nam Vets began coming forward and thanking our current soldiers.  Why?  So that they would not feel the way the Nam Vets felt. 

All soldiers deserve our respect and a homecoming full of thanks, love, appreciation and compassion...from usAll of us, regardless of our opinions on any war!  It is because of these men and women that you are entitled to an opinion at all.  Never forget that.  It is because of these men and women that many other countries were liberated from evil.  Yes, sadly many lives are lost on both sides.
I had the honor of meeting the family of one of these soldiers:
Photo taken at the Veterans Museum  - Vietnam Wall
Norm Goodman served with my Dad's Company in Nam.  He never made it home.  Two of Norm's sisters, a brother and his wife were present at the Reunion.  At first, I struggled with how to talk to the family, but knew I truly wanted to.  Then I realized, you just talk.  They are amazing people!  I can only imagine what a wonderful reflection of Norm they are.  I am certain, they are very deserving of the honorary membership to the Battalion they received this year!  Now that...is how you treat a Veteran! 
POW/MIA tablesetting at Saturday night banquet.
So think before you speak.  If you can't express your opinions thoughtfully and filtered with respect when addressing a Veteran, those currently enlisted, and the families of both...prepare to one day meet the leather of this American Girls Boot.  And if I can't do it, I'll send Toby...
Because when you disrespect one, you disrespect all.  Show some RESPECT.   
The "young man" in that picture, he deserves it.  The "young man" in that picture is 20 years old, just set boots on the ground and is about to change his life -and ours- forever. 

That "young man" could be any soldier, past or present. 

But this "young man" IS MY DAD!

And I am damn proud!


  1. You should be proud.I know for a fact how Vietnam went since I lost my dearest brother there -he was only 18,but in my little world growing up,Danny was my savior.of all my other 13 brothers and sisters Danny looked out for me,probably because he was closest to me in age . My husband also served during the Vietnam era,and I'm so proud of him too-its really kind of neat when one marine sees another marine and they say to each other "semper fi"-I brought up the corp. your dad was in at my lat visit with Jerry to the VA hospital. many soldiers said they were very thankful for there work-literally dug them out of a mess sometimes

  2. Sounds like a wonderfull weekend. So happy you were there with our Dad.

  3. All these brave folks are my hero's. Richard

  4. I lost friends in the Vietname War and many who came back were profoundly broken. There was no "welcome back", no "thank you". It was a crime. I did not support that war, nor do I support war in general, even though they seem to be inevitable. But, I respect each and every individual who must go to fight them, whether willingly or not. You are so right. They deserve our thanks and respect.

  5. Jane, you know it!!

    Judy, a very heartfelt hug and apology for the loss of your brother.

    Jan, yes, "Our" Dad. Great choice of words.

    Richard and BrokenRoad, Thank you!!!

    Susan, ya know, it was sad for sure, and this weekend I met several of those broken people that you refer to. Still very amazing men who were affected very differently then some. For good reason too. Their stories of being shot and wounded or watching their buddy next to them get killed...I imagine that does break a person down. How could it not? But they have done well considering, they survived and as long as they want to talk and share their stories, I will sit and listen with a thankful heart. And I did. Loved them all to pieces!!

  6. Thank your Dad for his service! My hubby who served in the Nam war is always shocked when someone thanks him. He always says he never got any thanks when he came home. It was so sad.I hope a serviceman never gets treated that way again! Mom to Airman in Germany and mother in law to former Marine in still in Iraq.

  7. ebethe, will do! And I want to thank your husband and your sons too! And you ma'am!! Your roll as a mom and wife should never go unthanked either! Hats off to you all! xoxoxo

  8. Thank God YOU were there for your Dad this weekend. I think what all these soldiers need now is for people to LISTEN to their stories and acknowledge the sacrifice they made...just like ALL soldiers do. Love your Dad :-)

  9. I am so proud and greatfull to know your Dad. Because of him and others, I am a free American!

  10. I remember sitting in our TV room with several of the guys that I ran around with watching the "last" lottery for the Nam War. I don't remember how the lottery worked, but I do remember that Kenny had a low number and had to go. It was at the end of the war and his time was short. I ran into Kenny several years later and he wasn't the same Kenny I knew from school, church, and hanging around. EVERYTHING was different back then. The oss of lives and the lack of respect was what made it so terrible. These guys didn't want to go - but they had no choice. I still cry thinking of those guys and now these guys and gals.

  11. My Dad is a Nam vet, too, and he still won't talk about it much. My husband is active duty Army and has seen combat.

    They ALL, past, present and future, deserve our respect, our thanks and our admiration. Not to mention our love and tears.

  12. Well said! Thank you to your dad and everyone who is protecting our freedom past, present, and future!

  13. Thanks for speaking out in writing this blog post on this subject. A shameful part of our history for sure. Our military men and women often don't get the credit they deserve but those who served in Vietnam can never be told thank you enough. They were treated so shamefully. We need to tell them thank you and we are sorry. I only wish that were enough but it's not.

  14. Well said, my dear. Beautifully written post and to the point! The picture of your dad gave me goosebumps. :)

  15. This is a truly wonderful post!! Thank you God for you dad and all who work to keep us free!!

  16. Jen, you are right! I think you would have loved these guys as much as I did! (including my dad :0)

    Pops, he's not the only great Dad around...you are too!

    Suzan, wow...that had to of been a heart sinking moment. It sure did mine when I read it. Thank you for sharing that story with us.

    Tina, then a very BIG thank you to your Dad and husband too! Well deserved! Again, to you as well for the hard job of supporting the family. That is not lost here!

    Diane, thank you ma'am!!!

    MamaPea, I have a feeling a few may have heard your kind words and I know they appreciate it very much! Thank you!

    MamaTea, I know, such baby faces they all had/have! They come back men...good lookin' ones if ya ask me!

    Kate, very well said! Thank you!

  17. I'm late catching up on posts, but this is beautiful! As a veteran myself, I know that the simple act of someone thanking me for serving means a lot, so when your own daughter really "gets" it, and does a post like this... well, I bet he's just really really proud of you! As a veteran of what some call a war "for oil", I get that not everyone agrees with some wars' missions, etc but that truly has nothing to do with how great our military members are. The greatness comes from volunteering or serving regardless of what may happen, full on support of America wherever it is determined we are needed. You're dad is amazing, as is my own dad, and everyone else I know that has been in or served as a family member - great post APG!