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Of all people in society, veterans deserve the most respect, yet often receive the least. This is unfortunate and detrimental to the fabric of our nation. And while we can gripe about the state of the VA all we want, it ultimately comes down to how we, as private citizens, treat these individuals.
One of the more unfortunate realities of civilized society is the way in which good people let political opinions and beliefs directly affect the way they view and interact with other people. A political belief is often used as grounds and justification for mistreating people and violating their basic human rights. Sometimes the political belief is valid and carries weight, while other times it’s quite petty and shallow – but that’s not the point. The point is that we, as a culture, continue to let our deep-seated political affiliations ransack our common sense.
Reality - Arenas - Country - Treatment - Veterans
This reality plays out in arenas all across the country, but is perhaps nowhere more striking than in the treatment of veterans who have fought in battles that large segments of the population have disagreed with. The Vietnam War is a great example of this.
Millions of Americans were against the Vietnam War -- as were many of the soldiers who were thrust into battle. But these latter individuals had no choice. When their names were called, they responded with obedience and followed the orders they were given -- often doing so with great courage and pride. Yet when they returned home, many Vietnam veterans were greeted with vitriol and disrespect.
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“We were not honored, but were treated as the face of an unpopular war,” Vietnam veteran Bob Feist recalls.
Much of the disrespect was subtle and insinuated, while other actions were quite blatant. Culturally, many vets were given the label of “baby killers.”
“We were shamed and embarrassed,” Feist...
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