Welcome Back Vietnam Vets!
The Vietnam War ended 40 years ago today and we are finally saying: "Welcome Home" to those vets that served our country.
I wasn't alive in 1973 but by the time I got to school, the story of Vietnam had already been written in the history books as a failed venture, one that might have had a noble purpose in the beginning but was wrapped in incompetence and incompleteness in the end.
One thing we’ve all learned in school: no one thought it was a good idea in the end. . .and our soldiers suffered. There was plenty of chaff thrown at the politicians but the big sufferers on this side of the ocean were the men and women who served in uniform to carry out the wishes of the government. Those men and women were treated, in some cases, as if they were responsible for the bad decisions and the refusal to go back on a bad idea.
Now we, as a Nation, are working to pull apart the political mess from the distinctive service of the 2.59 million men and women who served and the over 50,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.
Today in Washington and around the country including Lawton are saying an extremely belated "Welcome Back" to those that served. On Tuesday, Lawton’s Mayor Fred Fitch proclaimed Friday March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."
If you can, stop by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Elmer Thomas Park. Maybe put a flower down, sit on one of the benches and reflect on the service of the men and women. If you have kids, give them some of the basic information about the largest losing war in US History.
Especially in this area, we know so well that a military man or woman serves their country, hoping the politicians that send them to war have a full and righteous understanding of the issues at hand. It isn't personal politics, it is the love of country. That is what we honor.
We also honor those that were pressed into service because of the draft lottery. The same lottery that a soldier might become a name on the wall at the end.