The Vietnam Vet who spit on Jane Fonda as she was signing her new book was the topic of debate in the news this week - should he have done it? Everyone said no, and I agree. However, I understand the anger behind it. Many of our troops experienced the same thing when they came home from the war. Just last year my husband, Duane, who is a decorated Vietnam Vet, was speaking to a group about the war in Iraq as compared to the Vietnam war and one man shared during the Q & A that he was one of the soldiers who had been spit on by Americans when he got home. As Duane expressed his sorrow and understanding, the man wept. Needless to say, you could hear a pin drop in the crowd. Everyone got it.
I don't think Jane Fonda gets it. I know she said she's sorry recently for some of the things she did, but she didn't apologize to Vietnam Vets, especially the POWs who suffered longer as a result of her anti-war activities. She says she still hasn't changed her view of that war.
I don't know if this generation gets it either, except for those whose dads were in Vietnam perhaps. Our whole country needs to be reminded about our shameful treatment of these soldiers. Reminded about things such as their having to build their own memorial wall. That the first year's observation was not attended formally by our government. That many of them still roam the street, homeless, having never recovered from the effects of the war and their 'homecoming'.
Can you imagine putting your life on the line for your country and coming home to this? These veterans did not choose to serve in an unpopular war. They were soldiers just like the soldiers who fought in wars past or are fighting today...serving their country.
Vietnam Vets have never really been thanked adequately by our country, with the kind of national apology that can help healing come to many. While I do not condone the action of the Vet who spit on Fonda, I believe it shows there are wounds that still have not healed. Until this happens, make it more than just a slogan on a bumper sticker - Thank a Vietnam Vet every chance you get.
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