JoAnn Alumbaugh U.S. veterans have received various “welcome home” greetings through the years, often depending on the type of war in which they fought. Regardless of the war, our respect and gratitude for their service should never be minimized, especially on Veterans Day.
My 90-year-old dad has been staying at our house for a few weeks, so the television has been on much more than usual. This morning was different from the usual sports wrap-up of the previous day and controversial blurbs about who did what to whom.
Today is the beginning of Veterans Day celebrations throughout the country. ESPN was reporting live from the U.S. Naval Academy, and sportscasters were giving fitting tributes to veterans everywhere.
It reminded me of the stark difference in how veterans are treated today compared to how Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home from war. It’s like comparing fact to fiction.
Roger Staubach, well-known quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys for 11 years, was interviewed this morning and he reflected on the same topic. He talked about how difficult it was for Vietnam veterans and how society’s overall view of the war changed how veterans were treated when they came home. He said, “We’re doing the right thing for veterans today,” with the unspoken reproach: We didn’t do right by our veterans before. Staubach played football for the Naval Academy. Though drafted in 1964, he didn’t begin playing pro ball until 1969, when his commitment to the Navy was completed.
Think about the factors that impact how we feel about an event or person. Unless we’re careful, our opinions can be colored by how something is said almost as much as by what is said. Unspoken biases, especially when shared collectively, have a tremendous impact on our opinions, even when we’re consciously trying to be objective. And finding “the truth” is more difficult than ever, because we can’t be completely certain the sources we choose are objective. It’s our responsibility to dig deep, question conventional wisdom and get as close to the truth as possible.
This much I do know: My father-in-law was a veteran of World War II. Three of my dad’s brothers were veterans of the Korean War. My sister’s fiancé was in the Navy. He was killed on a platoon boat in Vietnam. There is absolutely no question in my mind that he deserves just as much of our gratitude and appreciation for his ultimate sacrifice as those who fought in any other conflict.
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