At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the guns finally fell silent across France. Peace broke out that day, and soon ‘Johnny came marching home’ back to the US. For many years, November 11 was recognized as Armistice Day – a day we gave recognition and thanks to our World War I veterans.
A second World War, a U.N. ‘Police Action’ in Korea and 35 years later, the November 11 observance was renamed as Veterans Day. Since then, we as a grateful nation gave thanks and honor to every veteran that served at home or abroad – be it in Europe, the Pacific, the cold hills of Korea or a military base stateside.
On November 11, we also gave thanks to the veterans that fought in the deserts and mountains of Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. On every other day, I hope we give thanks to the active uniformed servicemen and women that are serving in harm’s way. No matter how complex the mission, how difficult the task or terrain, our uniformed service members and military families have continually answered our nation’s call.
But we as a nation have let a group of veterans down. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, we were fighting a very real Cold War. Back then, the Domino Theory was fact. From the White House and Pentagon down to our family dinner tables, it shaped our foreign policy and our national opinion. All of America felt that we were the Bulwark of Freedom, and that the U.S. must take a stand against Communism.
And in 1965 we did – in Vietnam. Fifty years after the beginning and 40 years after the ending of that war, many Americans fail to go beyond lingering disagreement of the policies that led to that war and the complex issues that escalated and ended it. Back then, many of us never really properly thanked and welcomed home the thousands of men and women as they returned home from answering our nation’s call to put their boots on the ground and their lives on the line in the humid jungles, rivers and fire bases of that divided country.
Today, we all have family members, friends or acquaintances that served in Vietnam. It is never too late for us to undo the disservice done to many veterans who returned home from ‘Nam and were disdained or ignored 40 years ago. Now is the time to thank a Vietnam veteran for their service. Now is the time to listen to their stories.
Sound Publishing recognizes and thanks all our uniformed service members, veterans and military families. During the 50th and 40th anniversary of the Vietnam war, we give special recognition, thanks and honor to our Vietnam veterans and their families.
Local events recognizing and supporting our veterans or those who served:
Wreaths Across America: Support and Volunteer at the Dec. 12 ceremony in Bellevue’s Sunset Hills, Cedar Lawns Memorial Park in Redmond, Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent and Ivy Green Cemetery in Bremerton – www.wreathsacrossamerica.org
Washington State ‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day’: March 30, 2016, a perfect day to thank a Vietnam Veteran for their service, and welcome them home – www.dva.wa.gov/welcome-home-vietnam-veterans-day-march-30th.