I wish Hubs was up here to enjoy it with me, but he's deeply engrossed in a movie. I want to call him up, but I guess he needs the time alone lost in his movie. Today is an interesting day for him, fifty years ago he returned home from Vietnam, landing in Washington State, thankful to be back on US soil. Never anticipating the "welcome" that he received. That was the day he took off his uniform, his medals and his military persona and threw them in a trash can. He was just a kid, not yet twenty years old. Returning from war. He was fighting for his country, with all of his heart. Little did he know how disrespected he would be when he left the plane.
That is his story to tell. I've heard him share it. I've heard many veterans of his generation share a very similar tale. I am friends and family with veterans from many different battles and wars all in the name of protecting the American people. They all served proudly, whether they volunteered or were drafted, they have given so much for our nation. I have never felt the excruciating pain of losing a family member to those battles, but I have sat silently by and comforted the ones that are battle damaged. Mentally and emotionally they are never the same person. It doesn't matter what conflict it was. They are simply never the same.
I have listened to Hubs tell me stories of Junior (his older brother) and his Uncle Ted (who died on his birthday fighting for this country long before I was born). He tells me that Junior never smoked or drank until he returned from WWII, and after that moment, he was never completely sober again. The scars of all that he saw eating at him for the rest of his life.
When I first moved here, Hubs might acknowledge that he'd served, but he was always very silent and reserved about it. I held him tight the first time he visited the traveling wall and found his friend's name. Those wounds don't heal, you just learn to deal with life moving forward.
Being a veteran doesn't make that exclusive on dealing with horror, there are many things in life that lead to pain and scars, battle scars as they are often referred to, I have more than a few of my own due to things life has thrown at me. Yet I can't compare life's bruises, cuts and scars to those that are suffered by our veterans.
I can't undue the damage that selfish people did. And no matter how many people thank them for their service, we can never erase that so many of our veterans suffered being called baby killers and were spit on. Funny, it wasn't the jerk politicians that were causing all of it that suffered, only those that did their duty for country.
I get twisted inside thinking of some of this. I get super angry. I was quite young during that time frame. I can't say I truly witnessed it. Maybe it is one of the reasons I fail to rally to the side of all the virtue signalers, the people that refuse to treat others in a fair and equitable manner, the ones that only see their perspective as the right one. Those that demand things for themselves, while denying it to others.
Fifty years ago today my sweet Hubs came back to the US, I joke around and tell him that he came back because he was supposed to be with me (even though that was a rocky, bumpy detoured filled road). I don't know what the universe had in mind for him, but I am forever grateful that road led him to me.
Next time you meet a veteran and they seem closed off, grumpy or even a touch surly, stop for a moment and look beyond. Look in their eyes, are their shoulders back a bit too much, do they seem standoffish? Maybe, just maybe they are still waiting to be welcomed home with open arms and pure gratitude. Those selfish people that were simply tired of war and had no clue where to direct their anger harmed as many people as the war did. A little love and gratitude can make a world of difference.
Say thank you, listen to their stories, and for pities sake be there to hold them when they finally break through!
love and peace...