Profound sense of Appreciation

Some 50+ years have passed since the start of American involvement in Vietnam and far too many of our Vietnam Veterans have never been appropriately thanked and respected for their service.  We all know the difficult history of the prolonged war between nationalist forces attempting to force the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States/South Vietnamese attempting to prevent the spread of communism and promote freedom.

These men and women answered the call of duty, traveled over 8,000 miles from their homes to the hostile environment of Vietnam.  Like every generation of Americans, the men and women who served in Vietnam did their duty and deserve our respect and admiration.  Clearly, during the years of the Vietnam War, the United States failed to appropriately honor our returning military service members.  The lessons of such a failure must be acknowledged and never be repeated.

For the last ten years on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend, Cape Cod Cares for the Troops hosts “Troops in the Spotlight” at the KMART shopping plaza in Hyannis.  This remarkable event honors our military heroes with a respectful ceremony and lots of positive activities.  The centerpiece of the event is uniformed military personnel standing at attention for the entire twenty-four hour period.  This year’s ceremony starts at 11:00am on Sunday, May 25th.  After the formal opening, a “Welcome Home” ceremony for our Vietnam Veterans takes place at 2:00pm. 

Simply stated, the Vietnam Veteran “Welcome Home” ceremony is an honorable gesture from those of us who appreciate the service of our Vietnam Veteran era men and women.  I have had the privilege of lending a hand with this ceremony by speaking and shaking the hands of these American heroes.  The look of pride and honor in the eyes of these men and women is tremendously powerful and emotional.  Despite this expression of gratitude being decades late, it is clear that it has had a profound impact on our veterans.

While the attendance for the Vietnam Veteran “Welcome Home” ceremony over the last few years has been increasing, I know there are hundreds more Vietnam veterans on Cape Cod who should join their brothers and sisters and receive a heart-felt “thank you.”  

The purpose of this editorial is two-fold.  First and foremost is to recruit more Vietnam Veterans to attend the ceremony on the 25th.  Secondly, I would encourage all citizens to attend Cape Cod Cares for the Troops “Troops in the Spotlight” and remember and honor those veterans who are no longer with us.  By doing so we demonstrate our respect and appreciation to all who have served and are still serving.  While you may attend the event with the belief you are going to honor others, you will also leave with a profound sense of appreciation for the United States of America and all those who have fought to protect her.