In May of ’66 I returned from my first of two and a half tours in Vietnam. We were early returnees so the "celebrations" had only just begun. We were subjected, at best, to indifference - at worst, to disrespect and hostility. We were stunned at this treatment, having served at the call of our country.
In the years since the Vietnam War I have watched as some realized that the way they treated our military was horrible. I watched as many of my brothers and sisters and their families tried to recover from not only the trauma of war,but the bigger trauma of being accused of being murders and baby killers, of being ignored and shunned. Many suffer from their individual experiences in Vietnam. Many have never overcome what was done to them when they came home, and sadly, many more have already gone to their final resting place without the respect and recognition they deserved. Very few have been told “thank you” for their sacrifices. I want to change that as much as I can.
When I came home I did my best to forget what I could as man of my brothers and sisters have done, or have tried to do. Although I’ve managed to put memories from Vietnam away, I’ve never been able to forget the protests and treatment of my fellow vets. I will NEVER FORGET the ones that did not return – the names on The Wall – KIA and our POW/MIA. I encourage all to go to http://thewall-usa.com/names.asp. Look at the “statistics”. And I will NEVER FORGET that we have thousands more that have “not come home” yet. We must bring home our POW/MIA, and we must make amends to our brothers and sisters who have come back from Viet Nam, but who have never really Come Home.
In June 2014 I will begin the NEVER FORGET Ride to get people to remember the Vietnam Veteran, their families, and our POW/MIA’s. I want to remind all that our military in the past, present, and future deserve respect and a thank you – every day. I will travel by motorcycle to at least one Vietnam Memorial in each state, including Alaska and possibly Canada. I’m hoping to meet Vietnam Veterans and their families, as well as the families of our POW/MIA’s. I will be carrying a POW/MIA Flag and hope to get signatures – at least one for each branch, for each year, plus POW/MIA Families, and Gold Stars (Vietnam). My trip will begin at The Wall in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend and end at the National POW/MIA Memorial in the Riverside National Cemetery on Sep 19 – National POW/MIA Day. If you’re a Vietnam Vet or the family of a deceased Vietnam Veteran, come out and say hello so I can say, from one Vietnam Vet, “Welcome Home and Thank You for your sacrifices, and sorry it’s taken so long”. If you’re the family of a POW/MIA, come out so I can say “sorry it’s taking so long”, and, we will NEVER FORGET. If you’re one of my brothers and sisters that still hasn’t quite made it home, come say hello, please.
The route is posted but check frequently for any changes to dates, times and locations as it’s a complex ride. I will be doing a blog on www.eaglesup.us for those that wish to “follow along”.
NEVER FORGET (again)