Vietnam – Afghanistan What’s Changed In America? [OPINION]
I just read a heartwarming account of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and it made me wonder what has changed since Vietnam?
Soldiers were vilified, cursed at and even spit upon when returning from serving their country in Vietnam. A group of 13 Marines returning from tours of duty in Afghanistan were recently treated to heroe's welcomes at O'Hare airport in Chicago and then further honored by United Airlines and other passengers on their flight to San Diego.
A fiance of one of the returning Marines called the USO in Chicago and asked if anything could be done to honor this group returning from Afghanistan. John Colas, a 74-year-old former Marine USO volunteer answered the phone and said he'd see what he could do on 24 hours notice. When the plane carrying the Marines landed they were met by an honor guard of police and firemen which was enough of a shock. When the Marines looked out of the plane window and saw all the firetrucks assembled they thought the plane was having problems!
Instead of problems with the plane the firemen performed a 'water salute' that the plane taxied under. Once inside the Marines were greeted by cheering police officers, firemen, airport employees and other on-lookers.
When the Marines boarded their connecting flight American Airlines had six available seats in first class and upgraded six Marines. This upgrade is policy for Amreican Airlines. The next part of the story is extremely heartwarming. Seven first class passengers gave up their seats to the other Marines and moved into the rear of the plane.
Wow! What a difference from Vietnam! What has changed? I don't have a clue but I'm all for it. Just like we are told to respect the office of the President even if we don't respect the person of the President we should respect those who fight for country even if we don't agree with the policy that causes them to fight in the first place. When people put their lives on the line for a nation that should be awarded all the honor they deserve.
I really wish we could repay those who were treated so badly upon returning from Vietnam...both the healthy ones and the broken ones who are still suffering from their time doing their duty as proscribed by their country and President.