Thank You to all Vietnam Vets from a Marine in Iraq

A guy gets time to think over here and I was thinking about all the support we get from home. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. We get care packages at times faster than we can use them. There are boxes and boxes of toiletries and snacks lining the center of every tent; the generosity has been amazing. So, I was pondering the question: “Why do we have so much support?”

In my opinion, it all came down to one thing: Vietnam Veterans.

I think we learned a lesson, as a nation, that no matter what, you have to support the troops who are on the line, who are risking everything. We treated them so poorly back then. When they returned was even worse. The stories are nightmarish of what our returning warriors were subjected to. It is a national scar, a blemish on our country, an embarrassment to all of us. After Vietnam, it had time to sink in. The guilt in our collective consciousness grew. It shamed us. However, we learned from our mistake. Somewhere during the late 1970’s and on into the 80’s, we realized that we can’t treat our warriors that way. So … starting during the Gulf War, when the first real opportunity arose to stand up and support the troops, we did. We did it to support our friends and family going off to war. But we also did it to right the wrongs from the Vietnam era. We treat our troops of today like the heroes they were, and are, acknowledge and celebrate their sacrifice, and rejoice at their homecoming … instead of spitting on them. And that support continues today for those of us in Iraq. Our country knows that it must support us and it does. The lesson was learned in Vietnam and we are all better because of it.

Everyone who has gone before is a hero. They are celebrated in my heart. I think admirably of all those who have gone before me. From those who fought to establish this country in the late 1770’s to those I serve with here in Iraq. They have all sacrificed to ensure our freedom. But when I get back home, I’m going to make it a personal mission to specifically thank every Vietnam Vet I encounter for THEIR sacrifice. Because if nothing else good came from that terrible war, one thing did. It was the lesson learned on how we treat our warriors. We as a country learned from our mistake and now we treat our warriors as heroes, as we should have all along. I am the beneficiary of their sacrifice. Not only for the freedom they, like veterans from other wars, ensured, but for how well our country now treats my fellow Marines and I. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifice.

Semper Fidelis,

Major Brian P. Bresnahan
United States Marine Corps

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Author: Cpl. Beddoe
Cpl, USMC 1981-1985 MCRDSD Plt 3042, Aug 28, 1981 Work hard. Be kind. Pay it forward. Twitter: @txdevildog
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2010/01/09 21:28

>I am glad to see the support the troops get now, and they deserve it. I do what I can to make them welcome back home. As USMC81 said, it was the Gulf War that the American public opened their arms to the returning troops, and they also found it a time to open those same arms to the veterans of Vietnam. I took part in a Gulf War parade, with my Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter, and the whole parade route the people yelled "Welcome Home," and "Thank You." It's never too late to hear that…

2009/12/28 19:21

>Viet Vet,

Thank you. If I could relay a short story. Because of the way we came home, I was determined to welcome home the vets from Desert Storm. However I found I was unable to.(My job at the time took me out of the country) Soon after I did run into my first returning Desert Storm vet. I was in Jamaica. I introduced myself and after saying I was a Vietnam Vet, I shook his hand and welcomed him home. That was it, he turned and started on his way. He had walked about ten feet when he stopped. Turning back to me he said "Did you say Vietnam?" To which I nodded. Then…he walked back over to me and stuck his hand back out for me to shake again. As I did he said, "Welcome Home to you too." That was my first official welcome home. And those are not tears, I have something in my eye.

Yankee November
Yankee November
2009/12/08 13:03

>If that is our legacy, I'm ok with it.

Semper Fidelis
HMM 361 Vietnam


2009/12/05 11:40

This post is absolute perfection!
You are right, and it is partly the reason I do what I do at AirmanMom. Our Vietnam Vets are the reason I go to BWI and shake the hands of our soliders, as they return from overseas. Our nation MUST never allow another Vietnam! You and every single warrior deserve thanks, respect and a warm homecoming after serving our nation.
I thank you for sharing these thoughts so eloquently!