Hug a vet

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Hug a vet

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:49 am

While at the gas station this morning, I parked behind a pickup truck. On the back, next to large, hand-painted American flags, was a hand-painted sign "Vietnam Veteran", and a another hand-painted sign: "I shed blood for Americans, NOT for Illegal Aliens." He also had a "Vietnam Veteran" license plate bracket and a "Vietnam Veteran" Ohio-issued license plate. I saw him get out of his truck, he was a big guy (not fat, but BIG), in very good shape for his age, wearing a "Vietnam Veteran" T-Shirt and baseball hat. This guy was proud of being a Vietnam Vet, obviously.

As I walked past, I asked him, "what did you do in the war?"

This is a loaded question. I ask it of pretty much all of the vets I see - especially the WWII vets I see in my wife's nursing homes. Normally the WWII guys brighten up immediately, and tell you about their service in the war, the places they went, and the friends they made - and lost. The last WWII vet I asked told me he was in the Army Corps of Engineers. Pressed a bit more, he revealed that he was attached to the 101st Airborne, parachuted into Normandy, built (and destroyed) bridges, and fought with Infantry when needed. He was an active 94 years old, I met him at our local fair as he ate a funnel cake.

Another WWII vet in his 90's that I met in one of my wife's nursing homes told me that he flew in the Air Force. I asked what he flew, and he said "P-51's mostly." After I talked to this WWII fighter pilot for a while, he admitted that he didn't actually live at this nursing home, but had come to visit "a few of the ladies." Not one, but a few. Definitely a fighter pilot. ;)

The Vietnam vets can be a bit more touchy. While the WWII vets come alive when talking about their experiences and their buddies, often the Vietnam vets get a faraway look in their eyes, and some get quite upset. One Vietnam vet in a nursing home I talked to replied, "I was Infantry, so I was on the ground all the time. I did...I did a lot of bad things." He then started to cry. I did my best to assure him that he was a brave, honorable man, and that he had served his country well - but it still makes me feel bad that I dredge up something like this in him.

Without question, all of the vets are universally humble about what they did in the war. I have not once had one start bragging about their achievements or experiences. Usually, you have to persist with questions to find out some amazing things that each one had done.

This was my experience again this morning with the Vietnam vet in the pickup truck. When I asked what he did in the war, he said, "I was in the Navy."

OK, simple answer. I asked, "were you on a ship?" I find it interesting to find out about the various jobs Navy sailors had on the various types of ships.

He replied, "well, sometimes. I was in underwater demolition."

Underwater demolition...wait a second. My mind processed this. "Wait - you mean like BUD/S?" He looked surprised, I suppose perhaps at the fact that I knew what BUD/S was - Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL - the school that produces Navy SEALs.

He humbly admitted: "Well, yeah, I was what you'd now call a Navy SEAL."

I shook his hand and thanked him. I called him sir. I call them all sir. It doesn't matter if they were officers or not.

I try to make a point of talking to all the vets that I come across, when I can. This was my first Navy SEAL.

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Re: Hug a vet

Postby ankgrays » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:17 pm

I work in law enforcement.

I get a lot of people telling me: "Thanks for all you do", "Thanks for serving", etc.

I politely tell them "your welcome", but I always follow that with

"The vets and the active service men are the ones that really need the thanks"

I don't feel I deserve the thanks like they do.
I don't tolerate voluntary stupidity very well, and it seems to be rampant now-a-days.

"One of the problems about quotes from the internet, is that one cannot confirm their validity." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Hug a vet

Postby roadwanderer2 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:49 pm

for all you veterans out there, you want to show some support for us veterans, here ya go.......... ... =1&theater


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Re: Hug a vet

Postby CMReynolds1 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:53 pm

One of the best things you can tell a Vietnam Vet is "WELCOME HOME". Most the stories you hear of our homecomings are true. we were hated. I lost a job that I was interviewed for and offered after the upper echelon saw my DD214. Back then you had to show it with all job apps.

I feel good when another vet tells me welcome home and I get knowing smiles when I welcome a Nam Vet home. Just an FYI.

My thanks after the Nam Vets goes out to all vets and active duty who keep the 'string alive'.

Thank you Admin for sharing. I know you made his day.

To quote Linus, "You're a good man, Charlie Brown!"
Ride Safe,

TF 116, RivRon 512, Can Tho, S. Vietnam, 8/66-/9/68, GM(G)2

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Re: Hug a vet

Postby themainviking » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:52 pm

Thank you WingAdmin, even though I am not a vet of your country.

Our problem up here in Canada, is that a Vet to our civilian folk not in the know, is a 96 year old WWII legionaire who is between a nursing home and the grave. I just had an opportunity to help haul horses for a Communities for Veterans Foundation ride across Canada on horseback by veterans to help change the face of the veteran for people who do not realize that a veteran of Afghanistan could be 23 years old or anwhere between there and 50, and up to 70 for Somalia and Rwanda and even up to 80 for Korea. The main dude riding across Canada, Paul Nicholls, is 46 and a veteran of the Medac valley in Bosnia, where the Canadian soldiers beat back an army bent on genocide. I borrowed a trailer, and hauled horses for a week, and was honored to do it. Many years ago, I undertook to ride across the U.S. and Canada by motorcycle, and met many Vietnam vets in the thirteen months I travelled. I shared lots of quiet stories, and got help with my own demons through these conversations. I have friends across all the United States of America, and do not contact them as often as I should, and I have lost track of some. Looks like sometimes I need a reminder as well. Thank you to all Allied vets for your service.
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey


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Re: Hug a vet

Postby redial » Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:45 am

I let my spouse hug me any time, both as a vet and a spouse. 30 years with the Australian Army, some full-time, and some reserve. (Some would say: "Slow learner"). I enjoyed my time, although it was not all "beer and skittles". I still go to the annual reunions and some of the social events, and the next is in mid-September, I am really looking forward to the reunion.
Len in Kapunda

The world is not going to finish today, as it is already tomorrow in Australia and New Zealand, and other islands of foreign nations such as Guam and Samoa.

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Re: Hug a vet

Postby CMReynolds1 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:31 am

Len & mainviking, I personally want to thank you both for your commitment to the service of your country. You definitely gave if your all! While in Vietnam I served with some Aussie Navy guys. Absolutely loved partying with them when we would stand down for a day or so. I truly respect the Canadian and Anzac forces, all great people! Thank you for service.

Ride Safe,

TF 116, RivRon 512, Can Tho, S. Vietnam, 8/66-/9/68, GM(G)2

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