Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010, is Veterans’ Day. I’m a Veteran. I was in the Army for three years (Jan 1970-3) and served, among other places, in Vietnam.
History has shown that Vietnam was a frustrating war, and indeed my heart was broken when then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara came out in a book a few years ago before he died and said the war was not necessary. The sad thing, my friend, was that, even in his “admission of failure,” McNamara was not honest. The United States was in the area, among other things, to protect oil interests.
I remember sitting on the banks of the Gulf of Tonkin, where I was stationed, and watching a group of Navy guys unload a British ship, partly. I asked them where that ship was going with the rest of the stuff. They said “To Hanoi.” I was shocked. They saw I was upset, and said, “Man, this war is about oil.”
The Vietnam War created a lot of ill will at home in the States, and yes I had a few folks be rude to me, but today I am cared for.
I get free medical care. Here in my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, several restaurants are feeding vets for free.
However, that isn’t why I thank you, America.
It would seem today there is less to be happy about than usual, but all I can be is thankful, and I suppose this is the time of year to be thankful.
Every Sunday, I go to the church I want to go to and I worship in a way I want to worship. Afterward, I watch one or more football games. I eat food that is great, and I have access to all I want and it is easy to access. There is no place like the United States to watch football.
Every Saturday, I judge High School Speech contests. I watch as young people, very talented young people, give entertainment on topics that are important to them.
Gas is about $3.00 a gallon, but I can go wherever I want, and if I want to spend $300 on gas, there is no law against it. Somehow, there is always a supply.
I will be with my close and extended family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as we are every year. And, for the most part, within reason, we can expect to be safe.
What is my point? Well my point is to thank you, America. You are my editors, co-writers, family, friends, neighbors, fellow Peoria natives, fellow Americans (oh my, Richard Nixon overtones!) and my fellow Veterans. I don’t care what is said by China about our economy or Obama about the Muslim world, and don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room in America for Muslims. However, America doesn’t have to bend to fit in with other people.
The United States is a great place. We have our faults, yes, but thank you America for continuing to try!
You Tube Website, “Robert McNamara admits Vietnam War a Mistake”