The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

January 21, 2014

Vets deserve thanks even when it seems unwelcome

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from “Twice Bitten in Washington” (Nov. 4), who had thanked veterans for their service to our country and received several negative responses. I’m a retired vet, dying from Agent Orange poisoning. I served two tours in Vietnam, and when I returned from Nam, I was called a baby killer, spat upon and refused taxi service because I was in uniform.

America has had a change in attitude since the Vietnam War. Today, many folks appreciate what the military is doing. I have been thanked several times while wearing my Vietnam Veterans hat and it makes me feel great, to the point my eyes water.

Tell “Twice Bitten” to continue thanking the military vets. It means a lot, especially to vets like me. Sure beats being called a baby killer. - VIETNAM VET

DEAR VIETNAM VET: I received many letters like yours from Vietnam vets who were also not thanked for their service when they returned home. Like you, they very much appreciate hearing a “delayed” thanks for their service. I would like to thank you and all the readers who responded to that column with such emotional and sometimes gut-wrenching stories. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I would like to offer “Twice” an explanation for the reaction she received. I served two tours in Iraq and lost some good friends. When vets return home from war, home is a scary place. The life we lived and breathed is no longer. After spending so much time fearing the unknown and protecting ourselves physically and emotionally, we can’t stop.

Many of us came home feeling guilty that we lived while others died - ashamed that we might not have done enough, that we should have been the one who was laid to rest, that maybe if we had looked harder, fought harder, we wouldn’t have lost a soldier.

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