Vietnam Veterans “Welcome Home Day” in Charlotte, NC

Photo courtesy of VAnatage - the VA blog.

The following comes from a VAntage blog entry by Alex Horton:

It has been more than three decades since my uncle came home from his tour in Vietnam, but he wore the battle on his face for many years. Even when I was little, I understood the man in my family who walked jungle trails as a Marine grunt was different from my other relatives. He didn’t talk about his experiences much, to the detriment of our family and our history.

My uncle’s story is hardly unique among Vietnam Veterans, and the less than welcoming reception from the public played a role in how comfortable many were in speaking about his experiences. As the Marine Corps blog noted, Vietnam Veterans never received a welcome fit for their honor and sacrifice.

Last year, the Senate recognized March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” to right the wrongs of our past.

This year, the USO of North Carolina is organizing an event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on March 31, Saturday, to thank Vietnam Veterans. The VA will have mobile sites set up to help Veterans sign up for health care and benefits. Veteran Service Organizations will be there and there will be live entertainment including the Charlie Daniels Band and George Clinton. Details on the event are available HERE.

You can read Alex Horton’s full blog posting HERE.

Military Families: In Their Words

Combat boots and a little girl's "Daddy Comes Home" shoes.

This marks the 600th entry to my blog Off the Base. The best way to note that milestone is to turn it over to some thoughts from military family members. The families – the grandparents, mothers, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, children – and veterans are the reason I created the blog. I wanted a place that gave them a voice and that could help civilians better understand the stresses and successes military families and veterans experience.

He’s My Brother – from Get Out of the Cube

“My little brother is a little less than half way through his first deployment to Afghanistan with his National Guard unit. He and I have always been really close. He’s 8 years younger than me (he’s 31), and he was always my side-kick.

“For me personally right now, I would say the strongest feelings I have are 1) constant worry, 2) frustration that I can’t do anything to protect him, and 3) guilt.

“The guilt thing is strange. It’s like I don’t want to enjoy things, since it seems so unfair and selfish for me to be relaxing or laughing it up, when at the same moment he could be fighting for his life. Being optimistic is a challenge, especially given the sentiment there from recent events combined with what my brother’s role is. It’s no walk in the park. I can’t imagine how he feels. Putting on a positive public face is a daily challenge.”

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