Vietnam veterans deserve recognition, too

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Department of Defense officially classifies Nov. 1, 1955, as the start date of the Vietnam War, but in the past two weeks there have been several events in the county honoring local Vietnam veterans in light of the coming anniversary.

The Southampton Historical Society sponsored a discussion panel with six veterans and Sedley Baptist Church hosted an event on July 4.

Politically unpopular, the war created a deep divide between American citizens and the military that protects them. Several veterans reported that they couldn’t wear their uniforms when returning home for fear of being spit upon by protesters. The infamous Kent State incident in Ohio brought tensions to a fever pitch of anger and resentment toward the American military.

Protestors gathered across the country, chanting maxims such as “Hey, hey! LBJ! How many kids have you killed today?”

When veterans returned home, anti-war protestors villainized them as perpetrators of the government’s imperialistic goals.

We should all celebrate the recent attempts to honor these American heroes.

Those who served in Vietnam simply followed the orders of their superiors, as did those who fought in the two World Wars, the Korean War and the War Against Terror. Anyone willing to serve in any branch of our Armed Forces should be praised for their admirable work.

No matter the political regime or agenda that is currently in place, we as a nation should recognize and celebrate the brave men and women who fight to honor our country.

So, 50 years later, to the Vietnam veterans of Western Tidewater: thank you for your service.