Dear Annie: As we reflect on Veterans Day, it is very important to honor all veterans, not just the ones that served in a war of society’s approval. I am a Vietnam veteran, and the reception we got on returning to “the world” after our tour of duty was shameful, disgraceful and disrespectful. Those of us that served did not have a political agenda or anything to do with the daily proceedings of the conflict. We just adhered to the laws of the United States, which required a male at the age of 18 to register for the draft. If drafted, one served and did so in an honorable fashion.
The Vietnam War was a war like no other. The enemy wore no uniform – could be a barber by day and a Viet Cong by night. This happened at one of the units I was assigned to. Harmful chemicals were used in abundance. Many of my fellow veterans are now greatly affected by those chemicals. Both mental and physical problems are rampant. Not all casualties were from direct combat. Unless you were there, you cannot fathom what the life of a soldier was like. Until someone has walked a year in my jungle boots, they have no right to unfairly judge me.
I am proud to have served and only hope that those of us who have been at war throughout history are given the respect we deserve. Thanks for letting me air what I feel has been a great injustice. – Proud Veteran
Dear Proud Veteran: No matter the war, no matter the part played, our nation is incredibly fortunate to have people like you who fight for our freedom and safety. Thank you so much for your courage, bravery and service to our country. We honor you and all other veterans.
Dear Readers: Please enjoy some of my favorite quotes to honor the men and women who serve our country.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” – Bob Dylan
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” – G.K. Chesterton
“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it … it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” – Unknown
“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” – Minot J. Savage
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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