As a Vietnam veteran it is heartwarming to see the annual outpouring of support for those who died in the service of our nation….several were friends of mine. The difference between this Memorial Day and the ones of the sixties and seventies is stark. Were the sacrifices of Vietnam Vets of lesser value because our nation was caught up in a terrible social upheaval…or because the Vietnam War was unpopular? Of course the answer is a resounding NO! We veterans get together during military/unit reunions as vets have done for hundreds of years. I doubt that the screaming, spitting hordes of war protesters we endured back then have reunions. At least I have never heard of one. So what contributed to the awakening of gratitude we see today? These two wars are becoming unpopular and our Nation is more evenly divided politically than it was then.
I don’t have the answer but I suspect it lies somewhere in a growing number of patriotic Americans who refuse to allow the military and our lost brothers and sisters to be scapegoated. College campuses are no longer the hotbed of social resistance they once were. The professors with their tweed jackets and Che tee shirts are no longer the cornerstones of political upheaval. We get our commentary from a huge variety of sources and everyone can find a “place” where their ideas harmonize with others.
We shall continue to disagree but we will not use the graves of those who died for this right as our battleground.