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Opinion :: Honoring a veteran who did not receive the thanks he deserved
· 9:13am November 12th, 2012
Veterans Day means different things to everyone. An event happened to me a few years ago that I will never forget and that I think needs retold.
A gentleman visited our nursery in June, just after the ornamental trees had given up their uniqueness and the catalpa trees were in full bloom. I commented on the true beauty of the season. He agreed that Iowa was beautiful but it was the most gorgeous sight he had ever seen when he was flying back home a few years ago.
He told me that he was in the service, in fact the Vietnam War, and after being discharged, he flew in from Minneapolis on a smaller plane. The true greens and colors welcomed him home and it was vibrant compared to the landscape he had been living in. I didn’t know he was in the military and I asked him about his duties and about his experiences. He was more than happy to retell some facts and stories. To say that it was interesting would be an understatement. It was simply incredible the events that happened and all that we accomplished in that terrible war.
The answers to my probing flowed without reservations and I was trying to imagine what it would have been like to be serving our country after being drafted into duty. Soon tears flowed and the words were hard to understand. His body shook and his face was red with intense emotion when talking about his ride home after he was discharged
He was traveling in his military uniform and when in San Diego, crowds of people were picketing and shouting jeers at him. They swore, Baby killer!” and spat at him. He simply was neither prepared nor aware that people from his own country would act in this way. It was hateful and something that has haunted him for years and by his body language, still affects him today. When he landed in Minneapolis, a fellow grabbed him and guided him through a separate hallway as to avoid another crowd. He kept talking about the unbelievable beauty as he flew over the hills of Iowa that welcomed him home.
Our landscape is possible for us to enjoy because of this man’s, and many other veteran’s, services and he still feels somewhat betrayed by the very people he was defending. Personally I want to say we are sorry for treating you poorly on a day that should have been the proudest day in your life. Veteran’s Day is for you.
Thank you from all of us forty some years late. Your contribution made this country what it is today!
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