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.
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