Yesterday, I joined other American Legion members for lunch at Mission BBQ, a restaurant that caters to veterans. The occasion was the sixteenth anniversary of the atrocities of 11 September 2001. My fellow veterans and I were the guests of the restaurant.
The experience was vivid for me for several reasons. First, I was with other Vietnam vets. We share a brotherhood that often remains unspoken. No words are needed.
Second, my memories of the disaster sixteen years ago are still agonizing. May we never forget that monstrous day.
Third, a bagpipe ensemble of fifteen or so people accompanied the presentation of the colors outside the restaurant before the meal. We were called to attention and saluted as the colors arrived and were displayed. The salute was resumed during the “Star Spangled Banner.” I was deeply moved by the shared feelings.
Fourth, I still relish being honored for my service in Vietnam after decades of silence. Gone are the days when I and other Vietnam vets were cursed and spat upon. Now we hear the words that still make me cry: “Thank you. And welcome home.”