Stand up and be counted
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
I read a “Letter to the Editor” in a veteran’s publication recently from a gentleman who was a Vietnam veteran. He never stepped foot in that small country in Southeast Asia, nor serve on one of our Naval ships that supported on-ground troops with air and firepower. He didn’t serve on nearby bases that constantly provided support to those serving in-country, flying in food, ammunition, and necessary supplies. Yet, he is approved and certified to be a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, a national organization, with local chapters in small towns and large cities all over this land. He is what is referred to as a “Vietnam Era veteran”. Though he never carried a weapon, fired a shot, or dirtied his boots in the mountains and rice paddies of South Vietnam, he was as connected to this war as closely as those who did. He was stationed here in the United States and he never had to deal with the blood and guts, the mud, snakes, mosquitoes, or face the elusive enemy, yet his tie to the longest war in U.S. history is as present in his mind today as it was over 40 years ago when he served.
He and the people he worked with had the horrible task of notifying the families of some of those 58,000-plus young men and women who gave their lives defending our freedoms. He described the process as receiving a phone call and being instructed to record the information verbatim. The information began something like, “The President of the United States and this grateful nation regret to inform you that “John Doe” was killed while serving gallantly…. .” He and three other people would take the letter typed from the verbal information, get in a government vehicle and proceed to the home of this fallen comrade to give the sad news to the family. Today, he still lives with the memories of wives, husbands, parents and siblings’ faces when they opened the door and saw these four people in dress uniforms standing before them. The feeling of helplessness that enveloped all the participants in these countless scenarios is the embodiment of the sacrifices that patriots have given to this nation throughout our history.
When I think of these heroes, the dead, the survivors, and those charged with the gruesome task of notification and compare them with the politicians and the nonsense that we see and hear on a daily basis, it turns my stomach.
When I consider the sacrifices that have been made by patriots who have honorably defended this nation and look for some small token of sacrifice from those who represent us as leaders today, the comparison is just not there. We constantly are being bombarded about sharing the wealth, paying more taxes, doing with less, and yet Congress and the White House have not been willing to give up one red cent of their salaries or benefits or expense accounts to show an example of truly wanting reform. The “spendthrifts” continue to want more and more to accomplish less and less, but there is a groundswell of fed-up Americans who are reaching the end of their ropes. There is still a large number of proud people who are tired of seeing our flag disgraced, fed up with those who would denigrate our proud heritage, and spit on the memories of those who have given honored service to uphold the freedom that we enjoy.
If you can hear me, stand up and speak up. It is time we make a stand against the sorry leadership and political machine that is leading us down the road to destruction. If you have an ounce of pride in your body, if you can feel the pain of those who have sacrificed life, limb, relative or friend to defend the America that our forefathers built with blood, guts, integrity and a belief in God, then it is time. Show your face and your pride in the voting booth this November and tell the world that you are proud and still willing to stand up and be counted.
Short URL: http://www.jenningsdailynews.net/?p=12917