The Story Behind the Story
We Gotta Get Out of This Place
The American experience in Vietnam was unique in this country's history. There have always been peace movements. There have always been those against war, even dating back to the Loyalists who opposed the American Revolution. But supporting a certain war or not, the folks back home had always, before, supported their troops. It marked a change in the hearts and minds of many at home when they turned squarely against those men and women serving in Vietnam. A large group of persons crying most loudly for peace actually became most guilty of demonstrating hate toward men and women who placed their lives and fortunes on the line in a far away and very dangerous place. There were no parades for the veterans of Vietnam, no welcome home. Taking President Kennedy's admonition, they had asked "what they could do for their country", and then they were abandoned without just cause by politicians, news anchormen, actresses, and regular Americans.
The Vietnam Veterans live among us today going about their lives. They are far more accepted today than they were in days past, and our soldiers today owe a debt of thanks to them for a country far more willing to love the men and women of the military whether they support a given war, or not. Yet many still bear the wounds. And they still remember that Vietnam quickly stopped being a war for freedom, or for patriotism, or even for being heroic. In Vietnam, with nothing and nobody on the side of the American soldier, getting out of that place created a brotherhood, crossing lines of race and creed, that today remains undimmed.
For as long as God gives me life, I will regard the men and women who served in Vietnam with special favor. And by my life they will know they have not been forgotten in any measure. Welcome Home.