Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recycled story: Thank You For You Service

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thank You For Your Service : A little Story

Up and until about four years ago I never had these words said to me: "Thank You For Your Service".I'm a Vietnam Veteran, a Regular Army Volunteer that served four years on duty and one tour in Nam. I had some strange but minor things happen to me when I returned from Vietnam. No body shouted Baby-Killer directly to my face however. The shunning was low key and was mainly compose of avoidance, avoidance of acknowledging my service, avoidance of recognizing any sacrifice I had made, in fact just plain avoiding me.But four years ago a young man, not yet even born yet when I was in Nam, said to me, "Thank you for your service." It was like a lightning strike. It pierced my soul. I was extremely surprised at my emotional reaction to what he said.Since then, I have had three other young people say that to me when they somehow learn that I served in Vietnam.

Among ourselves, we Viet Nam Veterans, after we ascertain that someone has truly been to Nam, we have been saying, "Welcome Home". I guess that is some sort of secret code among us. Yes, even though nobody else gives a shit that you made it back, your brothers in arms do. Now the U.S. Government has tried several times to do something, albeit way to late, to say to the Nam Vets, "welcome home and thank you." It was always too little, too late, and half hearted and organized by some Nam Vets themselves. It just never took you know.It probably didn't help none that America when it finally elected people from the Vetnam era, elected mainly draft dodgers and Jodys to the Presidency while publicly pissing on the grunts who fought over there. ( Well how about McCain you say? McCain was an incompetent third generation Naval Beggar's Brat who got his rewards and honors at the expense of others. )

So after all that prep here is my little story.

A few weeks ago I was at a small family museum along Route 66 celebrating the Mother Road.The guy showing me around was about my age. A gruff dude, impatient to run me through the cases and trophies of the The Road so he could get back to a game on TV.

When we came to a display case with his fathers WWII dress uniform in it he talked about him and how he had fought on the beach on D-Day. Then he mentioned that when he got back from Nam he could fit into his Dad's uniform himself.Well that statement, elicited the testing questions from me and him to see if truly we had been in Nam. Then came a quick exchange of a few lies and war stories. At the end he said, "Welcome Home", and I said to him, "Yes and Welcome home to you too, and by the way , thank you for your service." Dang it we were shaking hands at the time, his grip tightened and his eyes began to tear up. "In all my life," he said, "No one has ever thanked me for my service."


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I was busy with other things yesterday (not really an excuse) but late last night I remembered that I had not said thank you to you for your service in Vietnam.

So. Thank you, sir, for your service. I mean that sincerely, too.

Joan said...

24 6th graders thanked me yesterday, and made me a card. That was the first time my students had done that. It was humbling.

Thank you...