Bend In The Branch

The personal opinions of one among many.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Operation Welcome Home

author unknown

When they got home from Vietnam,
They thought they'd met the test
With veterans of those other wars,
Who proved they were the best.

Instead, the crowds greeted them
With hoots and howls and scorn,
And demonstrated with cold contempt
For all that they had borne.

It was a shock, that "Welcome Home,"
For those who had survived,
And no one seemed to sympathize
When widows and orphans cried.

They marched into rebellion
And a country split in two
By radicals stomping and spitting
On the old Red, White and Blue.

Good people stood in silent consent,
As the protesters razed the land,
And shunned the Vietnam veterans,
Nor offered a helping hand.

Some vets were even forced to lie
On employment application,
For no one wished to accommodate
The disabled on medication.

And more retreated to the hills
And many to mountains fled,
While most, quietly, made returns
To lives they'd previously lead.

Citizens did not wish to hear
Of war lost by government decisions,
Or those who gave their very best
To uphold our country's visions.

So the crippled on crutches stood
By their brothers with missing pride,
And prepared in camaraderie
For the war that raged inside.

The stories are equally as numerous
Of a battle throughout our land,
And the casualties that numbered greater
Than those on Asian strand.

A case that I remember well
Involved a returning vet,
Who called his mother to tell her
About his friend she hadn't met.

He has some special needs, you see,
His legs were blown away;
He's wheelchair bound and coming, too,
But he won't prolong his stay.

"I'm sorry, son, we can't have that!,"
Was the mother's impulsive reply;
"He won't impose," the soldier said,
As he said good night with a sigh.

The following day that mother received
Word that her son was dead;
He had taken a loaded forty-five
And shot himself in the head.

He hadn't described a friend to her,
It was himself of whom he spoke,
He had not wished to burden her
With the care that he'd evoke.

Rejection greeted most every vet
In a thousand ways, -and, then,
Banded together, they welcomed home
Themselves to the country's din.

They built a "Wall" with all the names
Of friends and comrades lost;
It soon became a national symbol
Of the war and freedom's cost.

Never again must there ever be
A Vietnam by another name,
Or a war that our posterity fights
Where the only reward is shame.

Vietnam vets gave all they had
To honor their country's call,
And suffered a double jeopardy
From reflections seen in The Wall.

When they got home, all the way,
Others knew they'd met the test,
And veterans of those other wars, now say,
"They were among the best."

Visit the site. Watch the video.

Better yet, say "Thank you" and "It's good to have you home" to every single veteran you know.


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