My husband volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army at the age of 17. He served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, and then returned home to a changed nation. Along with a damaged retina from a flash burn, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, in addition to a number of ailments related to his Agent Orange exposure.
Upon landing at the airport in Dallas, Texas he was greeted not only by his family & friends, but also the war protesters. Shouts of “baby killer” were thrown, and he was spit upon. Although he had earned medals proving he was a hero in the line of duty, he felt he let down not only his combat buddies, but America.
Over the next 38 years, my husband struggled with his role in Vietnam and his treatment by America. He rarely spoke of his service to anyone who had not “been there”, and got rid of his medals.
Our military men and women deserve so much more respect than they receive. Many of them have volunteered to serve our country, yet when they give their lives, their families may be met by protesters at the funerals.