I have always had a fascination with military history. War is exciting when we can watch it on our big-screen TV from the comfort of our recliners. It would suck beyond anyone's ability to imagine to actually be in combat. My hubby Dan and I just had the chance today to watch the Vietnam war movie "Platoon" followed back-to-back by an episode of the WWII saga "Band of Brothers." The Second World War was in his father's generation, while Vietnam was Dan's and my dad's generation's war. My dad served, but was never in combat.
Dan's dad was a decorated infantry officer. Dan was born with a small eversion in his left ankle that kept him entirely out of the military. For that blessing he and I have always been grateful. The Army doctor who washed him out told him the ankle would preclude him from serving in the armed forces, but assured him it would never bother him as long as he lived. He was wrong; now that Dan is 78 it's finally beginning to bother him, almost 50 trouble-free years later.
Vietnam is a half century and almost three generations behind us today, while WWII had happened only a little over twenty years prior to the misery of 'Nam. The courage of the American soldier was no different, but American political and military leadership displayed a day-and- night difference between those two decades.
However terrible both wars were, the guys from Europe and the Pacific who did make it home home came home victorious. The guys from 'Nam came home to being spit on. Hubby's dad and uncles beamed with pride over the high quality of the men they led in the forties, while a girl Dan was dating in the sixties lost her brother who was fragged in his tent by the very men he led. What a difference one generation made. May we all remember and be grateful for all of their service, and for the service of the guys in Iraq and in Afghanistan today. Welcome home, veterans.