Today, March 29th, as I write this newsletter article, I learned that the US Congress designated this date each year as the "National Vietnam War Veterans Day" to honor the men and women who fought in the Vietnam War.
I too wish to pay my appreciation and respect to those who served our country in this terrible war.
The US Government instituted a draft to young men to serve in many areas of the war. I remember those days. I carried a draft card. My number was one of the later ones and was scheduled for the last half of the year that they stopped the draft. Thus, my number was never called and I was not drafted to serve. But those whose numbers were in the first half of my year ended up being called and drafted into the service.
I carry a lot of respect for those who did serve either by volunteering or by being drafted. My older brother thought he might get drafted, so he decided that he wanted to serve in the Navy, and instead volunteered to serve aboard a ship. He served in the Navy for 4 years after his freshman year in college.
My cousin did get drafted into the Army. He decided that he wanted to get in and get out as fast as he could, as he had just gotten married and finished up his freshman year in college. So he volunteered to serve on the heaviest combat lines of the war. When he was done after 1 year, he came home. But his wife, who was a nurse, decided to divorce him and marry a doctor. So my cousin came home to find divorce papers on his table. He later married a wonderful woman, started a family, finished college, and had a good career with the Goodyear Tire Company. Unfortunately, he later died in his fifties from the effects of Agent Orange, a chemical sprayed on the enemy as part of the war effort.
The Vietnam War was very controversial at that time. Many were against the war. Many did not want to serve. There were many riots on college campuses against the war effort. It was a tough time for most of us.
But I want to pay homage, respect, and thankfulness to those who took on the burden of fighting for our country in the very tough conditions of Vietnam. Those who fought had to do so in wet and humid weather, in mud, in heavy vegetation and trees, in near impossible conditions, against an enemy who it was hard to tell whether he was friend or foe, who often times outnumbered our troops, and who used extensive tunnel systems to attack our troops from in the jungle.
We owe a lot to those who have helped to secure our freedoms by fighting for our country. This day is a day to remember those whose lives were changed forever by fighting a war on the other side of the world to keep freedom alive on this earth.
They did what they were asked to do. And they did it with hard labor, sweat, tears, and personal sacrifice. Thank you to the men and women veterans of the Vietnam War. We all owe you a debt of gratitude and honor.