You Vietnam Vets
click on image to enlarge
~ This is a story about a Viet Nam
vet and Ann Margaret as told by the vet's
"Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in
Viet Nam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a
rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo
he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margaret with Bob Hope in the
background that was one of his treasures.
A few years ago, Ann Margaret was doing a book signing at a local
bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the
treasured photo so he
arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing.
When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the
bookstore, circled the parking lot and disappeared behind a parking
garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she
would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.
Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her
know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann
Margaret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in line,
it was soon Richard's turn.
He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo.
When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would
it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see it."
She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she
said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly
will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and
I always have time for 'my gentlemen.'"
With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss
on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young
men she met
over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she
appreciated them. There weren't too many dry eyes among those close
enough to hear.
She then posed for pictures and acted as if he was the only one there.
Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to
talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears."That's the
anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army," he said.
That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter
and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll
never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small
act of kindness meant to my husband.
I now make it a point to say "Thank you" to every person I come across
who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am
grateful for all those who have served their country.
click here to see photo of
(sorry I couldn't post it, odd large format that I couldn't fix)
Sent by Patrick O'Hannigan, thank you Patrick!
THANK YOU, VIET
I just don't know how else to express that they are heroes. And
for the first time in my life I wish I was a political socialite that
could organize a campaign for a Vietnam Vet Appreciation Day.
Wouldn't that be a great day? Would somebody political please run with
I applaud Richard's wife as well. It takes a strong secure woman to
understand and write that. ~jen
As our nation cheers and applauds the homecoming of
our troops today, I'd like to say out loud what I know is felt by many
We are so very sorry, Vietnam Vets.
Although today's troops deserve our grateful support, it's obvious
that America is being especially careful not to repeat our shameful
past of blaming our troops, to support them and welcome them home,
regardless of what we feel about politics.
I believe that we often add an extra spoonful of gratitude because
of our guilt over our treatment of the Vietnam vets and their
homecoming. And I have to wonder, as the Vietnam vets watch the
parades over today's heroes, do they recognize that part of it is
meant for them? Sadly, I don't think so.
I remember the days of the Vietnam war, and the pictures I saw of
the spitting on our soldiers at their homecoming, blood throwing, the
protests, anger and hostility. I was just a little kid, I didn't know any vets,
but I remember believing the crowd, and for that, with all my heart, dear Vietnam
vets, I apologize.
Your sacrifices are so very appreciated, the wounds you continue
to carry physically and in your hearts and your minds, are not forgotten.
Every time I realize I am talking with a Vietnam vet, I have such a
desire to hug you with sincere gratitude, but I never do, because I am
certain it would be misunderstood.
Vietnam vets don't like to talk about the war, or dwell upon it.
It's rare that the identity is even disclosed, and once it is, that
haunted look of steel comes over a Vietnam vet's face as memories
flood their thoughts, and I know they want to drop the subject
So I stand there, searching for words to change the subject,
wishing I could express my gratitude but not knowing how.
I believe much of America feels the same
way. And when our troops come home from Iraq or Afghanistan or the
Gulf, we clap a little louder, we cheer a little longer, and we throw
But Vietnam Vets, please know that at the same
time, so many of us are cheering you too. We gasp as the media reports
our troops are worried they will be treated as you were. We are
stabbed with guilt at the thought...and like most spoiled children, many
of us quickly dismiss it, we don't like to admit guilt. So we
exuberantly express it where we can, today, with our troops coming
home, and hope that makes up for it. And it doesn't.
But make no mistake, we cheer for you too. And we grieve our past
So as you watch the troops of today flooded with praise and
glorious homecomings, and you feel a pang of hurt and anger as you
remember your fallen friends, the horrors of war you went through, the
sacrifices you made for us, to come home and be torn apart by us...all
I can say is, please forgive us. I, for one, was an idiot. We all
were. And we wish so much that we could find a way to express our
can't undo the past, we can only ask for your forgiveness, I pray that
I have looked for an organization to donate to, in expression of
gratitude. The best I could find was
Closer Walk Ministries, but how can they or any organization even
attempt to undo the damage we have done, reach all Vietnam Vets and
express our gratitude? America, I think we missed our chance.
You are heroes in my
eyes. And when you hear the cheering of our troops today, please
please know that many of us have you on our hearts, minds and prayers
as well. God bless you. ~jen
Response by a Vet
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