With Veterans Day just past, we honor all of Vermont’s returned service members from World War II to the War Against Terror; they are among the more than 22 million living American veterans. We salute you.
This Veterans Day was a special holiday because it is the first such day for Vietnam-era veterans marking the start of the 50th anniversary of America’s longest war. The commemoration of the Indochina war, which starts this year, will continue through Nov. 11, 2025.
Vietnam was an especially tragic war because it divided the nation, families, and friends. At the time, our veterans received shabby treatment when they returned home, thanks in part to many rabid anti-war protestors. Today, many of these old protestors have become successful in business, entertainment, and government.
Curiously, many former protestors—now well into their 50s and 60s—have distanced themselves from the past, thanks to selective amnesia. They don’t appear to want to publically confront how their youthful, radical politics adversely affected many veterans, especially prisoners of war of the era
My friend Karl, a Vietnam vet and former POW, has many deep scars; he still fumes whenever the names of Jane Fonda and John Kerry are mentioned without reference to their Vietnam actions.
“These two American citizens have done more harm to me and my fellow vets than the North Vietnamese military—regardless of their passionate convictions about the war. I haven’t forgotten that their actions put thousands of us in harm’s way; some even died as a result. Today, while I can forgive, I won’t forget.”
The scars of war—and peace—are slow to heal. Many vets seem to have put this uncomfortable issue behind them. So, in that spirit, we’ll move on, too.
On Veterans Day, the President honored all U.S veterans with words that didn’t get much attention in the post-election news cycle babble.