We came home nearly forty years ago to a place that we didn’t know, and that didn’t know us. We tried our best to fit in, to go back in time, trying to return to who we were and what we had been just a few short years earlier. For most of us it didn’t work. The world that we knew, and that thought they knew us, was no longer there, gone, along with our innocence, and a lot of our friends. Many things, and in some cases, people, that just a few years earlier had meant so much to us, meant nothing now, and the feeling was mutual. Often, the one that had promised to wait forever, didn’t….. but we never knew ‘til we came home. Sometimes, even the churches that we went to before, didn’t want us sitting in the same pews with “good” people on Sunday. After all… WE had blood on our hands…Things like this are hard to forget, or forgive.
Our “before ‘Nam” buddies, the ones who didn’t go, weren’t anymore. The ones that would still talk to us just wanted to know what we had “DONE” over there. And then didn’t want to listen when we told them. They soon figured out that we weren’t puttin’ up with their bullshit, and stopped coming around. We had lost friends before… We tried to forget………
So, time goes by, many of us found someone who accepted us, and was willing to put up with our little “quirks“. Soon we had kids, a place to live, and in some instances, after many failed attempts, a pretty decent job. And, we had a dog. (him we could trust) It seemed as if we had everything we needed…………..We almost forgot………..BUT…….
But there was NO PEACE. There was NEVER any PEACE. Not really. Things were just never the same for us. Everyone always wondered why, but they didn’t really want to know. Some people said “If it’s that Vietnam thing, get over it. It wasn’t really a war , and besides it was a long time ago. Grow up”. Most people don’t deserve to know, most never will. We do.
The people we choose to let into our lives are either like us, or accept us for who we are. We seem to surround ourselves with others, who like us, also can not forget, yet who we know we can forever, and always, really trust. Those that know what we are about, what is in our hearts, and that share the love we have for each other. WE WILL NEVER FORGET, That’s what makes us,………The Vietnam Veteran,……..
Jim F. 1st Cav ’67-’68