Saturday, March 30, 2013, was the official Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in New Hampshire. The NH Patriot Guard Riders participated with a Motorcade, and then by forming a flag line for the one-hour ceremony. We stood across the back of the hanger of the New Hampshire National Guard at Concord Airport. We listened as a series of politicians gave speeches of regret about the way the veterans of the Vietnam War were treated upon their return from their tours of duty. Most of those who spoke were left-of-center in their politics. I could not help but suspect that they, or their parents, were among the protestors who derided our soldiers as they returned from battle in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their words rang hollow for me. The one point that many made that did make sense, was that it was those very same slighted, disrespected veterans who have led the movement to see to the honoring of American soldiers returning from foreign soil, under the watchwords, "Never Again!"
This song says well what they were trying to say: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehbc1zU1BwQ.
As Thomas P.M. Barnett has so ably argued in The Pentagon's New Map, the number one export of the United States over the past six decades has been security. A 64 year-old Norwegian businessman said to me in 2011 following a dinner cruise on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary, that "Every European should get down on his knees and say a prayer of thanks to America." I was touched by his remark. Shouldering the security of the Free World has been costly to us Americans, and our Vietnam and Korean War soldiers and sailors, as well as those who've defended Kuwait, and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, are those who've paid the highest price in their time, in their health, and in their blood, during that era. I, for one, thank God for the loyalty and bravery of our military.