Oh, how I am relishing the love and respect that comes to veterans these days.
Veterans Day 2021 is about to pass into history, but I have to offer a brief word of thanks to Americans who take the time to express their thanks for the service millions of us have given to the nation.
Why relish this now? In this day and time?
Because I came from an age when it wasn’t always the case. I am a member of the Vietnam War generation. I served for a time in that war zone. I came home and was greeted with … well, what I have called raging indifference. Some of us took the blame for a war policy that went badly. Yes, Americans blamed the warriors for carrying out the lawful — if mistaken — orders from the top of the chain of command.
That is not the case today. For that I am grateful and appreciative of the expressions of thanks I get fairly routinely.
The nation’s collective attitude seemed to change about the time the Persian Gulf War ended in early 1991. It was a brief, but violent conflict. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and took command of that nation’s vast oil reserves. President George H.W. Bush declared the occupation of Kuwait “will not stand.” President Bush ordered the mustering of a half-million troops in the region.
Then we launched air attacks against Iraq. Then the troops rolled into Kuwait. We took control of the country after just a few days. Then our troops came home to the kind of welcome we hadn’t seen since the end of World War II.
They were victorious! They accomplished their mission. We were proud of them. Who led the national cheering? Vietnam War veterans organizations were instrumental in that effort. I am proud of the work they put in to welcome home the men and women who liberated Kuwait.
The love and respect has continued as we have welcome troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thus, Veterans Day has become the kind of celebration that our veterans have deserved all along.
Thank you, America.