Paul doesn't want me posting his feelings about this on my blog and I'll respect his wishes... I'll post my own thoughts.
Walking by the wall, looking at all the names, and thinking of the 58,000 dead young men, the children they never had, the grand children they never had was a bit overwhelming and brought back a lot of memories along with my own tears. What a waste of life.
I came of age during the war. The back ground music of my life was also the background music of the war. Listening to those songs yesterday, looking at the dates on the wall, My senior prom, my graduation date. While I was growing up and experiencing high school, these boys were dying. I can still see my mother saying goodbye to my brother during a rainstorm at El Toro, the week before Christmas in 1967. That memory was burned into my brain and as a mother, I wondered how she got through that day and the next 18 months. My father didn't say much during this time; but in the days before 24/7 news, dinners consisted of Walter Concrite (sp) Chet and David, etc. as though by watching as much of the war news as he could, my dad would keep my brother alive. In the spirit of full disclosure, let me say that we were republicans and I believed that crap about the domino effect... I felt guilty being a girl.. Safe from the draft.. My brother volunteered. So did Paul.
Today we say thank you to young men in Uniform; my husband talks about getting out of uniform as soon as possible when on leave, not wanting the abuse of the "Peaceful" war protesters. A friend was spit on at an airport, interrupting his first meeting with his 12 month old daughter. Hearing the words baby killer, butchers were not uncommon at airports. Seemed to me people would go to airports JUST to do that.
Peaceful? Not to me.
I believe those years and the years that followed were dark days for America, whether we believed in the war or not, we treated our Vietnam war veterans horribly. I was glad in the 80's when Jane Fonda finally had to give up her tour of American malls with her work out clothes, I think because the war veterans for the first time I was aware of, fought back and demonstrated at every mall. I was struck yesterday, with the understanding that while Americans were ignoring their plight, "putting the war behind us", Our veterans were taking care of each other when possible.
On a strange note (to me anyway), On a sign with myths and facts about Vietnam,I read, 1,072,000 young men served in Vietnam, over 13,000,00 in the 2000 census claimed to have served "in country".. Now I wonder, why so many who did serve don't talk about it, feeling shamed by their fellow countrymen so many years ago (John Kerry), and so many MORE who did not serve, talk about it all the time..