Ten years ago I shared a ski lift ride with a middle-aged gentleman. He was a Boise policeman who had been a policeman in California and moved to Idaho only a couple of years before.
We chatted and he mentioned he had served in Vietnam. I was silent for a moment, then said, “I don’t know if anyone ever thanked you or not, but thank you!”
Unfortunately, his response was, “No, you are the first.”
What a sad commentary on how the Vietnam era veterans were received back home. I’m happy to see this has, for the most part, changed over the last decade.
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Years before that encounter, my sons and I were at the grocery where veterans were selling the symbolic poppies. After shopping, I gave my boys money to donate and looked at the men behind the table and said, “Boys, these men are heroes.” To which a World War II era veteran replied, “No. Not us. The heroes are still over there.”
What humility — something that defines the typical veteran.
Thank you to, and may God bless, all the veterans — those who returned and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Gary Mathias, Boise