My Father is a Vietnam Veteran
The above photo was taken by my Dad during the Vietnam war when he was there serving America. He was a driver for medics. That word "serve" really takes on the most noble meaning in relation to veterans. I chose this particular photo because you can see the windshield wiper and I feel the general energy of this village.
In early September, I was visiting my family in Northeast Ohio and I had the good fortune to be in town for a ceremony put forth by the Geauga County Veterans Service Commission (Geauga County is where I grew up) to honor Vietnam Veterans. It was incredibly moving. I was so impressed by the Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill who spoke during the ceremony. I had the impression the ceremony would have a "republican-accent" for all the reasons Ohio is regularly regarded as very Republican, but the opposite was present. It was noted that this war was the first that African-Americans fought side-by-side with other Americans and that context really hit me.
The other aspect to my emotion around this war and those serving America is that SO MANY were not born here. They were immigrants. Like my father. He was born in Lithuania yet enlisted after his Cleveland high school graduation to gain a sense of life direction. WOW.
Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on May 25, 2012 that proclaimed May 28, 2012, through November 11, 2025, as the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
"While no words will ever be fully worthy of their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor. Let us renew our commitment to the fullest possible accounting for those who have not returned."
~ Barack Obama
This is so powerful. The ceremony honoring my Dad and about 400 other Veterans from my dear Geauga County in Ohio was overwhelming. I don't think we can possibly fathom how gigantic of a decision and how much courage these young folks had by choosing to be in the military. And then there are those who were drafted. Can you imagine? I cannot. The rigorous training, just trying to get along with each other under that kind of fear and stress. Unimaginable for me.
I have so much respect for veterans, it almost hurts. I am so sad that our human race -- with all the beauty and grace our civilization offers -- still ends up killing people as a practice.
Here are some photos from the Geauga County Veterans Service Commission on September 1, 2017: