I’m not yet 50 years old, so my memories of the war come primarily from pictures and movies. However, the effects of Vietnam still greatly affect my family and I. Many soldiers came home with significant wounds - both physical and mental. Many of those wounds endure to this day. My father served two terms in Vietnam. The resulting substance abuse and disassociation led to him leaving our home when I just a child. I’ve only seen him a handful of times and have no real relationship with him.
At the time of the war, those who served were at best ignored, at worst spat upon by the people of the nation they had served. I don’t fully understand how American people could turn their anger towards our Government into ager towards our troops, but yet it happened.
This Memorial Day, the President of the United States, The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff presided over ceremonies at the Vietnam War Memorial to honor those who served in Vietnam. I am grateful that our Vietnam Veterans are being shown some appreciation. While the wounds of war may never fully heal, the gratitude of our country can help bridge the gap. May we never again fail to honor those who served our nation.