This week I want to share an e-mail that I received a few days ago. I think this sums up well many of the themes that we've been discussing in recent blogs, but in words that I could never offer:
Please allow me to thank YOU! As a Vietnam Vet from 1967-68, I know the pain of anonymity and rejection. You understand veterans and their plight completely. For someone to say to me, "Welcome Home" is a sentiment that always brings tears to my eyes, and even now I am crying as I write this.
War changes you irrevocably. Your eyes and psyche are burned with images that will never fade from view. Returning to the states and trying to re-integrate into your lifestream becomes a surreal and dreamlike event. Believe it or not, the war became our reality, and back here everything seems so banal, so trivial, so inconsequential. We are no longer of this time and place, but Outworlders, forever looking in but somehow never a part. It is a state of Being that is incomprehensible to those who never left. They try to understand our faraway gazes, our detachment, our tears, our silence. But they never will.
The best anyone can do is embrace us, hold us, allow us our contemplation, accept us, but never try to condescend, understand, sympathize, or patronize. Some of us saw and did horrific things. We remember our fallen brothers with honor, and wonder why the better man didn't go home instead of us. This is true for all who served, regardless of their campaign.
Anyway, from the deepest recesses of my heart, Thank You.
Thank YOU, Doug. And Welcome Home.