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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Veterans, soldiers deserve thanks

Posted Friday, October 12, 2007, at 9:19 AM

Three Vietnam veterans from Shelbyville visited the T-G office Thursday to have their photo taken after the latest of reunions they have every few years.

Their pride in serving their country was still evident 40 years later. You'll read about them in a future print edition of the T-G and maybe on the web site.

I found myself contrasting their dedication and good humor, and the great impressions Iraq veterans and active-duty soldiers who've visited the T-G newsroom have made, with comments within a San Francisco radio newscast from the summer of 1971 I heard recently.

The governor of California is heard decrying poor treatment of soldiers returning from Vietnam, including being cursed and spat on. I'd assume the location -- San Francisco -- had something to do with it.

From my perspective -- coming of age a few years after Vietnam -- I can't imagine soldiers being mistreated by their own fellow citizens for simply following assignments. I realize it happened, and I realize there were a lot of Americans who had good reasons to be dissatisfied with their government, but burning flags and spitting on soldiers isn't the way to attract support.

Protesters' attacks on American soldiers for marching in combat instead of marching in protest showed only immaturity and self-centeredness.

Those who seriously love their country and have strongly-reasoned anti-war feelings have the right, maybe even the duty, to protest the right way. And there is a right way: Aim protests toward the politicians who send the soldiers, not the troops themselves.

Disagree with war? Fine. But our veterans and active military from all eras deserve only thanks, not personal attacks.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I think there should also be a federal law that prohibits anyone from protesting at a soldier's funeral. This is highly disrespectful and should be as illegal as walking down the street in the nude.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Fri, Oct 12, 2007, at 9:44 AM

I would like to just extend my gratitude to all the brave men and women that have fought for our country. And may God have mercy on those ignorant(no name calling I just don't know what else to call them) souls that would stoop so low as to spit on a soldier.

You can disagree with the war only because all these men and women(from every war) went into battle to ensure your right to do so. I agree David, protest Washington and the politicians, but don't protest the soldiers, some of whom were drafted and not given the choice if they wanted to go or not.

-- Posted by jesuslovesevery1 on Fri, Oct 12, 2007, at 9:54 AM

Nathan, there is a group called the Patriot Guard Riders that, at the invitation of the family, will stand by to block the protesters from contacting or harassing the families of fallen soldiers. The website is www.patriotguard.org. It is primarily a bike club, but there are plenty of "support" vehicles (like us until we get bikes). Anyone is welcome, the only requirement is that you show up every now and then to welcome some troops home and stand by to honor the ones that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for a country that is seeming more and more like it doesn't appreciate it. As a veteran, it is an honor to be able to do this whenever Mr. Phelps and his band of wackos are planning on being at the funeral of a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, or Airman that has fallen to defend their right to be idiots.

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, Oct 13, 2007, at 10:05 AM

I have a question, why doesn't our "liberal media" allow us to see the devestating results of war, such as flag-draped coffins by the hundreds? Honestly and objectively, why did this change? Out of respect? I don't think so, we broadcast presidents funerals, queen's funerals, and everything else in between, why can't we see something crucial to understanding the devestation of war? I honor EVERY SINGLE fallen soldier, who has served in ANY war in American History. I would also NEVER spit on one, or put a boot to their head. But I would like to save their lives, by bringing them home. Is that too much to ask?

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Sat, Oct 13, 2007, at 6:40 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.