Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007's First Rant

I came to a horrible realization this weekend. The Long War is indeed just like Viet Nam.

Just not like I thought.

I had this brought to my attention twice. On Saturday, Old Sarge and I had gone shopping and decided to stop in at the Loves Park VFW. I’m in charge of a banquet taking place there on the 13th, and wanted to talk to my co-chairman about arrangements. Loves Park does raffles on Saturday, so we stayed awhile and chatted. Some guy, probably close to our age, came up to our table and my friend introduced us, telling the guy that we have kids in the Army (apparently he has a son in also). The guy got this stupid, drunken shit-eating grin on his face and proceeded to say that we must know, too, what a lying draft-dodging c**ks**cker our president is, and that we need to get the f**k out of the Middle East right now.

My husband knows the look that comes over me at times like that. Like my face just turned to stone and I stared straight ahead. It scares the bejebus out of him.

The best I can say is, there was no bloodshed.

See, I believe certain things, and I remember certain things, and I can’t be easily swayed. I DO know what cut and run meant for a whole generation of veterans over thirty years ago.

On Sunday night, we met friends at our own VFW for the New Years steak fry. As soon as we sat down, the Senior Vice-Commander came up and pointed out a young man to us.

Sr. Vice: See that kid over there? He’s on R & R right now. He went to the Dixon VFW and they wouldn’t let him in.
Old Sarge: They what?? Why?
SVC: They said he couldn’t come in because he wasn’t a member.
RM: Oh come on, Dixon post is open to the public!
(Most VFWs in our area are closed posts, but welcome veterans whether they are members or not)
SVC: I swear to God, they wouldn’t let him in!
OS: Who dropped the ball there on offering him membership? Jeez, I can’t believe this.
RM: So, what are we doing for him?
SVC: (smiling hugely) Well, so far he hasn’t paid for a drink. He’s getting a free steak dinner, a free membership and I’m either driving him home later or he’s staying with us.

I took $20 and told the bartender to give him drink chips for me. Later on, I had a chance to talk this young man- which wasn’t easy, EVERYONE wanted to shake his hand and even the older vets went out of their way to welcome him. I told him that if there was anything he or his buddies needed, just let us know. He smiled and said toothbrushes and clean white socks would be appreciated. And that this was the first time, in all of his deployments, that he had felt comfortable at home. I hope we can visit more while he is here.

So, yes, I believe things are looking quite the same as they did when Viet Nam was happening, but it wasn’t the soldiers’ fault then and it certainly isn’t their fault now. It is our media and our peers. Where I see someone that could be a son or daughter, they see a poor uneducated dupe not worthy of their time or respect.

I can’t change this for every kid coming home, I know that. But I can make sure it doesn’t happen in MY back yard.


At 1/03/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when I came through Dallas on my way home for R&R, there was just a line of people thanking and welcoming us home. It was a bit much, but it was nice.

At 1/03/2007, Blogger ragingmom said...

YOU are a big part of why I feel this way- I always hope someone will make you feel special and appreciated since I'm not exactly close enough to spoil you rotten.


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