Sorry, everyone, this is not about business but personal; for me very personal. I attended a special Veteran’s Day event on Monday I really want to share with all my friends. The name of the event was Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of The Vietnam War. It was held in the Jet Blue Stadium in Ft. Myers, FL. This event was put on by a great group of people known as The Collier-Lee Honor Flight Team. There are 21 people on this team led by Dr. Debi Lux and her husband Sean. They have and continue to do some wonderful things for our military veterans in Lee and Collier Counties in Florida.
Major General Arnold Fields, USMC, was one of several speakers and he explained what made the Vietnam War different from our other wars. His explanation cleared a problem I held inside for 50 years. He stated it was the only war where we did not attack our enemy. We fought with the people in South Vietnam and defended them but we never invaded North Vietnam. I was bitter because I thought our politicians never let us win the war because of public sentiment and demonstrations in the US. I thought they were more interested in getting re-elected than doing the right thing. General Fields explained our leaders knew if we invaded North Vietnam, China and Russia would join the war against us and create another World War much worse than the war we were in.
Twelve of the fourteen members of my OCS graduating class were sent to Vietnam and only three of us came back alive. These classmates were like brothers to me. I saw many other great soldiers and civilians, including women and children, die there. When we came home without a victory I thought all those lives were simply wasted because of a political decision. That has bothered me for 50 years and General Fields’ words released that.
Another thing that really upset me and other Vietnam veterans was the way we were greeted when we returned home. When I was ordered to go fight in Vietnam I thought I was doing the right thing. I was helping defend the men, women, and children in South Vietnam from the invading communists. Eight of my Uncles did the same thing in WWII. When they returned home they were greeted with parades and celebrations and considered heroes. When we returned from Vietnam we were booed, yelled at and called names such as baby killers. We could not wear our uniforms in some public places without trouble.
In the event Monday, all the wonderful people welcomed us home and sincerely thanked us for our service. That meant a lot to all 700 of us and it brought tears to my eyes. I will always be grateful for what these people did for us and I wanted to pass his on to my friends and other military friends.