Vietnam vets—this one’s for you….
I’ve been watching the Ken Burn’s PBS documentary, The Vietnam War (http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/home/ ) and it occurred to me that I should write these few words to you….
I want to acknowledge that you may have sacrificed some important parts of your life in order to serve the country in that war: Your education, your friendships, your youth, your spirit and probably your physical well-being. Whether you enlisted or were drafted, you gave up more than just the outer edges of your life. More than just one year in that place. More than the rest of us can know—unless we were there, too.
Watching that program, I have also come to realize that your initial sacrifices may still continue. There are probably parts of you that were forever changed because of that war. You may still be paying for those months in country—physically, emotionally, even spiritually—and that hasn’t gone away. All these years later.
I know it’s probably hollow (or worse) to say “Thank you for your service”, as though that’s going to heal all the possible wounds, or make up for the pain, suffering, anguish, guilt or frustration that this war may have dumped on you. I guess the best I can do is to recognize the costs of your service that are still being subtracted from your well-being. We all owe you.
Another thing to appreciate: You’ve lived all these years since Vietnam, surmounting the hardships of living each day. I hope you’ve found ways to patch around the wounds, regain your identity, find purpose and meaning and bless the world in ways the rest of us may not see. We can learn from you.
The enduring and hopeful truth: You are still an example of what’s good in God’s world!