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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A forgotten anniversary -
The Return
This post was inspired by one of my Ryze friends who sometimes graces my favourite Creative Writer's Network with his presence. I have his permission to quote in full from it.

Whatever side of the political divide you sit on, take a few moments to think about these men and women, who served faithfully. Their service was never acknowledged in the way it should have been because of the politics of the Vietnam War. Give them that acknowledgement now.

"Another year has slipped by and not a single note appeared in the media about their anniversary. 32 years have gone by and they seem to have melted into thin air and we don't even remember.

They were fathers, brothers, sons, friends, men who lived next door. We missed them and then forgot. And now they are still there, next door, across the street or around the corner and we do not see them.

Their number is declining as the ravages of time eats away at their shining armor. Quiet but purposeful, they work in the community, serve in elected office, or prepare to retire. Not ones to blow their horn but ready to stand once again for the same ideals that took them away the first time.

Some were gone for as much as 9 years or more. Beaten, tortured, deprived of basic necessities of life and they never complained, then or now.

May I remind you of the 600 plus men who served our country and were repatriated as Prisoners of War on February 12, 1973. God bless them for their sacrifices."

Emil Di Motta

I replied to Emil. I told him that I have never forgotten these brave souls, those who died and those, like him, who live with their memories of that time.

I opposed the war but I could never understand the hostility directed at the men and women who served their country and their world to the very best of their ability and at huge personal cost. They did what they were sent to do and no one could or should ask more of any human being.

I was just a teenager growing to a young woman during Vietnam and for me it was the trigger for one of the most intense shifts in my thinking, one of the most painful yet profound experiences. I know that I was not alone in that spiritual and political baptism.

Regardless, of where we stood back then, the sacrifice of the few for the many should never be forgotten and never ever dishonoured.

Today I will light a candle in remembrance and pray for all those whose lives were touched by Vietnam.

It was Valentine's Day when Emil's post made me stop and think about those times. It suddenly seemed so appropriate to remember on a day which is all about love.

Isn't it about time that we remembered to share some of that love with those whose lives were so shadowed in our service, without reservation, without judgement.

When we can do that, they will truly have come home.

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