Short Story - In Memory

In Memory


The flashing lights glistened on the dark, wet pavement as muffled radio traffic sounded through the light rain. Above the overpass, unseen traffic roared by on I-17, bound for Flagstaff to the North and Phoenix to the south.

Daisy Mountain Fire had been the first responder, followed by the sheriff’s department, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety . Since it was on the I-17 right of way, final jurisdiction went to the DPS. Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies turned it over to their fellow DPS officers, and left the scene. Daisy Mountain had already gone.

“Well, there goes his Memorial Day weekend.” The dark humor came from Officer Hardy Wallace. He was standing on the shoulder overlooking Officer Davis and the reason for the call.

The dead man looked to be in his late sixties or maybe early seventies. He had a short, gray pony-tail, and a thin beard. His face was worn and tired. His sightless eyes stared up at the bottom of the concrete overpass. He was beyond caring.

A passing motorist from New River had spotted him in his headlights, sitting silently and unmoving. He had stopped to render aid, and then realized the man was dead. A 9-11 call brought emergency services and now Officer Wallace and Officer Davis were finalizing the report before the county morgue unit came to retrieve the body.

“I know this guy. He usually worked the Thunderbird exit ramp in Phoenix. I wonder why he's up here?”

Officer Jimmy Davis was a five year patrol officer. He had served in Iraq.

“He wasn’t a bad guy,really. He just had a few mental problems. Kept to himself mostly. I’m going to look through his backpack for ID and maybe next of kin info.”

Hardy Wallace nodded and watched as a curious motorist slowed down. He waved him on and turned back. He had served in Desert Storm, and he watched out for the younger Jimmy Davis.

A radio call reported that county morgue was fifteen minutes out. Officer Wallace responded and flipped on his unit’s headlights to see if it was still raining. It was.

“What are you and Judy doing tomorrow for Memorial day?”

Officer Wallace was divorced. Karen had endured one too many long nights alone, and she’d given Hardy an ultimatum. It was the job or her. Hardy didn’t even have to think about it. He had been with the Arizona Department of Public Safety when they first met, and Karen had known it from the beginning, so she had no cause to claim she did not know what she was getting into.

Lightning flashed close by, and Hardy counted the seconds. At one-thousand-five, the thunder roared, making the lighting strike about a mile away.

“Holy shit!”

Jimmy Davis was a Christian, so the unexpected cursing drew Wallace’s immediate attention.

“What?”

“This guy is a Marine. I just found his discharge papers. He served in Vietnam.”

Jimmy Davis was also a Marine, while Hardy Wallace was Army.

“We’ll note that on our report so the guy gets full honors.”

The radio notified Hardy that county was five miles out. Another curious motorist slowed down and he waved him on. Something had changed after learning the guy was military. There was just something about it. He thought of the TV series, “Band of Brothers’. There was something about a brother in combat.

“County’s close Jimmy. You about done?”

“Yeah, the poor guy didn’t have much….”

His voice halted, and then there was only the sound of rain and the idling motors of the units.

“Jesus Christ.”

The words were low and spoken in reverence. It was not a curse. It was more of a prayer. It was a calling on The Savior.

Officer Jimmy Davis climbed out of the ditch and walked up to Officer Hardy Wallace. His face was pale and tears were welling in his eyes. Something was clutched in his hand.

“It’s The Medal, Hardy.”

Confused, Officer Hardy Wallace stared at his brother officer with a question in his eyes.

Jimmy Davis opened his hand. “He won The Medal, Hardy. This guy was a Medal of Honor winner.”

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Comments 87 comments

diogenese 5 years ago

Touching story, Will. When someone is old and gray, they become invisible to society in general. It takes their death to get to know them briefly again.

Very well written as usual. Your prose is like a fine meal, always room for more...Bob


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Viet Nam vets were treated shabbily. One of the things I never understood about the left. They support the politicians who created the war but come down on those who were drafted to fight it.


Just Ask Susan 5 years ago

Beautiful piece for Memorial Day or any time. These men deserve far.


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 5 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

Great story. Viet Nam vets came back to a country where it was cool to protest just about everything, with many of those who disagreed with government political decisions choosing to ostracize those who served to protect our right to disagree. The vets deserved better from us.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Sorry about that I never finished my sentence. These men deserve far more recognition for what they do to serve their country.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Lives of "quiet desperation" are lived out among the blind and uncaring. Heroes go unnoticed and discarded, their usefulness gone once they have sacrificed all.

This story is a poignant reminder that we all should take with us every day and shine our compassion and help upon everyone we see. Thank you WillStarr.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

WillStarr, this was nicely done my friend.


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 5 years ago

Excellent as always. I drove by this Iwo Jima Memorial in Arilington Va, everyday for 23 years and it always tugged hard at my heart. Thank you.


Guanta profile image

Guanta 5 years ago from New York City

Thank you for your Hub WillStarr on this Memorial Day.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

An important piece Will.;)


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Great write, timely too, voted up, Peace 50


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

And he finally got his reward ...


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Beautiful hub, Will, and I do feel like I'm talking to a fellow Vietnam vet. I was no hero, no medals, spent four years in the Pacific submarine service, but I do have a very short story during my coming home leaves. The first ones were in the early sixties. Nobody saluted me but people did seem to apprieciate my uniform, and many wanted to "talk". The last time I came home, late 66 (by bus; I always traveled by bus after the plane ride over the Pacific). Anyway, I saw a change, people didn't avoid me, they plain did not "look" at me. There were no "conversations". Thanks for a great hub, Will.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Bob, and thank you as always.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, dahoglund,

I never could figure out why the veterans were attacked. It made no sense.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Just Ask Susan,

Yes, the Korea and Vietnam vets were forgotten men.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, FitnezzJim,

The treatment of Vietnam vets was a national disgrace.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Hyphenbird, and you are correct.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Mike and thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Ginn,

I want to go see all the memorials.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Guanta,

It's my small tribute.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Mentalist acer,

Too many vets end up alone and forgotten.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Good morning, Dusty and thank you for your service. I hope you're feeling better.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Poohgranma, and thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, SubRon7,

I'm not a veteran. Circumstances kept me out in the early years of Vietnam, and then I was too old.

The treatment of the military duing the latter years of Vietnam was a disgrace.

Thank you for your service.


David Warren profile image

David Warren 5 years ago from Nevada

Hi Will,

Thank you for the great writing. I am a veteran with few if any issues however I have seen firsthand the damage done to several veterans and their family members, including my own, as well as acquaintances throughout the years. I am not old enough to have been in Vietnam but my "biological" father was. I was adopted by a step-father, also a veteran because Vietnam took from my biological father the ability to have a "normal" productive life whatever that may be. All veterans' deserve better than whats offered but especially Vietnam and Korea veterans.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, David, and thank you for your service.


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 5 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Thanks to all who serve and Thanks for your thoughtful rememberance...Have a great day Will...:O) Hugs G-Ma


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, G-Ma Johnson.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

My hat is truly off to all those who are currently serving and have served. It is because of them we enjoy the rights and freedoms we all enjoy today.

In my opinion, this country can not do enough for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve this country. They pay a heavy price that no amount of money could ever repay. We owe them all respect and honor for what they do and what they have done. The next time you meet one of these fine people at an airport, bus station, restaurant, or wherever, take a moment to shake their hand and thank them for their service to you and this country.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Well said, Mike.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

It's amazing that whatever country you are from it's the same respect for our heroes, the people who serve us with their lives. Wonderful tribute.


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

It is a shame that now it seems that only the people who have been in the military or the families of, are the only one who know what the 'metal' is all about and the cost of it.

Well done, Will.

q


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Cardisa, and I agree.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, quester.ltd, and thank you!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Excellent hub for Memorial Day. My husband served in Vietnam Nam and was spit on while he exited the plane on crutches. No, no vet deserves this treatment.

Rated up.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Pamela99,

The left now claims the spitting incidents never happened, but those of us who were there remember them well. There were news-reels of it, and they included the left calling them 'baby-killers'.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

Thank you so much for reminding us all that Memorial Day isn't just about BBQ and sales.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Will you have written an excellent Hub and reminder of those that put on a uniform and served. Thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, suziecat7, for pointing that out!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks, mckbirdbks, and yes, that was my point.


mindyjgirl profile image

mindyjgirl 5 years ago from Cottage Grove, Oregon

Thank you Will, this brought tears to my eyes, My husband was in Vietnam. He got called a baby killer when he got back. He enlisted in the navy before he was drafted so he would (come home with all his body parts). They all never got a welcome home. I want thank all you VETS!


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Will, I have a notion this kind of situation happens more than we may relize. Again, I love the story and your choice of words..I was able to visualize this story very vividly.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Excellent tribute, Will. Thanks for sharing!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Will,

I spent a special year of my Nursing career working with the homeless. Quite a few were our beautiful Veterans, treated about as shabbily as one could imagine by our very own Government/ VA systems. It was heartwrenching work. These guys were so grateful for whatever service we would provide. When I considered what service they had provided for us, it was a no-brainer...

I have to comment, considering your recent loss (you are in my thoughts and prayers) about a blurb I saw on the news last night on service dogs. The country is NOW just emphasizing the need to adopt our doggie war heroes. Heretofore they had been euthanized? I burst into tears of sorrow and outrage at the way these fur heroes could be treated... who in their right mind could do such a thing? I guess I will never understand that one.

This was heartwrenchingly beautiful, sir.

May you and your family take all the time you need to be gentle with yourselves, Maria


Genna East 5 years ago

Will, as always, you capture me in the first sentence and hold me spellbound until the end of the story. This is as touching as it is meaningful, and so very appropriate given the Memorial Day holiday. Tragically, this man’s epitaph is all too familiar, and one that saddens this heart. The VN war enacted cruel and harsh punishment on so many of our boys who made it home “safe.” Safe…from what? This touching story brought tears to my eyes. Up and awesome!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Vietnam vets were shunned because of the shame we felt. Young people thought draft dodging was a good way to protest, then they felt thoroughly ashamed that they did not serve when they could have. It was a very mixed emotional time. It was a very shameful war.

The liberal left would truly like to see all wars abolished.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

To abolish all wars is a wonderful dream, but most likely impossible as long as humans populate the planet earth. Wars have been taking place throughout history and will continue until the end of time. I too wish this dream could come true even though I am not part of the liberal left.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Your last line said it all, Will, it made a winner out of a guy that was probably perceived as a loser. Well done.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Great story, Will, and often, the case. The homeless aren't looked at as human beings by many, but rather somewhere between human and a stray animal. I learned first hand that they all have a story. Your's is a beautiful, stark story based on the reality that there's a tired soul under the shabby attire that ran out of options. I admire many of them as they show more resilence, ingenuity and forebearance than I could under their circumstances. Bravo, Will!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, mindyjgirl, and tell your husband I said thank you for his service.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, CMerritt.

Yes, there are many sad stories of what became of such young men.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Dexter Yarbrough, and thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, marcoujor,

Thank you for your comments. We're still making decisions on our 12 year old black lab. He seems to be improving a bit, but he will also need surgery for an eyelid growth, and he is epileptic with bad hips, so we will probably still have to put him down.

Will


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Genna,

There are lots of sad stories like this one. Although this was fiction, it is based on a real event at that location.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Austinstar,

That war was designed to prove that the US was willing to sacrifice as many young lives as the communists were. Winning it was never an option to Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson, and yes, he was a member of the liberal left.

The conservative right doesn't want wars either. Why would we?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Mike, and you are correct. Conservatives are no more warlike than the left. In fact, more wars have been started under the left than under the right, and we just started a new one in Libya under Barack Obama.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, drbj

It amazes me how ignorant we are about who these men are and what they have done:

Medal of Honor Recipient Hassled at Airport

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps you've all read this already. It was written by Bob Greene, a syndicated columnist from Chicago. It was published in Feb. 2003.

"They just kept passing it around there were eight or nine or ten of them who handled it before it was over," he said.

"They had found it in my pocket at the airport, and they thought it was suspicious. It's shaped like a star, and they were looking at the metal edges of it, like it was a weapon. I asked for it back, but they kept handing it to each other and inspecting it. I was told to move to a separate area.

"I told them -- just turn it over. The engraving on the back explains everything. But they thought they must have something potentially dangerous here.

"I told them exactly what it was -- I said, 'That's my Congressional Medal of Honor.´"

The man relating that story is retired Gen. Joe Foss, 86. His experience last month in Arizona at the international airport in Phoenix -- may be the ultimate symbol of the out-of-kilter times we are going through. We are so afraid of terrorists in our midst that what happened to Foss is not only believable, but perhaps even inevitable:

The Congressional Medal of Honor will be taken from its recipient because it looks vaguely ominous.

I spoke with Foss because I wanted to hear it from him directly. He told me that he holds no animosity about the incident -- "I'm just as interested in defeating the terrorists as anyone is, I promise you that" and that he is mostly sad that no one knew what the Medal of Honor was.

Foss was awarded the medal by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II after shooting down 26 enemy planes as a Marine fighter pilot in solo combat in the Pacific. He grew up in South Dakota -- after the war he would become governor of that state -- and took flying lessons as a young man, then went to war.

He lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., and when he travels he is patted down in airports instead of going through the metal detectors, because of a heart pacemaker. At the airport in Phoenix, he said, he was being searched manually and he put his jacket through the X-ray machine. A couple of things caught the attention of the screeners -- rightly so.

Foss has a key chain made out of a dummy bullet, with a hole drilled through it to make it evident it is harmless; he also carries a small knife/file with the Medal of Honor Society's insignia on it. The screeners took both of them from Foss -- traveling during these nervous days with items that look like bullets, or with even a small knife, will, and should, invite scrutiny. Even if you're 86. Even if you're a war hero.

That's not what frustrated him. The screeners, he said, allowed him to mail the key chain and the little knife back to his home from the airport. But for 45 minutes, he estimated, he was passed from person to person, made to remove his boots and tie and belt and hat three different times, and prevented from boarding his flight (he was eventually allowed on) because the security personnel, he said, had misgivings about his Medal of Honor.

(America West Airlines, in whose terminal in Phoenix the incident allegedly took place, said through a spokeswoman shortly after the misunderstanding that the airline's objective is to ensure safety and security for all passengers and employees.)

"I want you to know," Foss told me, "that I don't go around wearing my Medal of Honor, or carrying it with me. The only reason I had it with me on this flight was that I was supposed to give a speech to a class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and I thought the medal was something the cadets might be interested in seeing."

I asked him what he remembered about being presented the Congressional Medal of Honor. "I was right fresh out of combat when I was called to the White House," he said. "FDR was behind his desk, and he pinned the medal on my uniform. He said it was for actions above and beyond the call of duty.

"I was nervous, being in the presence of the president. I think I may have been more nervous there than I was in combat. My wife and mother were with me -- it was quite a day. I think President Roosevelt called me 'young feller.'"

After the White House ceremony, Foss had his photograph taken with the medal -- the nation's highest military honor for valor in action -- on his uniform. That photo was the full front cover of Life magazine, the issue of June 7, 1943; the cover caption was: "Captain Foss, U.S.M.C. America's No. 1 Ace."

And now, almost 60 years later, the Medal of Honor was being handed from one skeptical security screener to another in the Phoenix airport, while Foss, at 86, took his boots and belt off as ordered.

"I wasn't upset for me," he said. "I was upset for the Medal of Honor, that they just didn't know what it even was. It represents all of the guys who lost their lives -- the guys who never came back. Everyone who put their lives on the line for their country. You're supposed to know what the Medal of Honor is."


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Amy, and you are right. We are all God's children, including the homeless, and each of us have a life story.


lilyfly profile image

lilyfly 5 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

Just wonderful, Will, and we have our freedom because of them... God Bless... lily


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I missed this story on Memorial Day but am glad I read it today. Although it was fiction, it was a stark reminder of the price many veterans pay for their service to our country. Far too many are homeless and forgotten so thanks for reminding us of this in your story.

The comment you just added about the real Medal of Honor Winner being hassled at the airport on his way to give a speech at West Point was very disturbing. How truly sad it is that the average American has no clue what a Medal of Honor looks like, and most importantly, the valor and sacrifice it stands for. Reading just a few true stories about Medal of Honor Winners is a real eye opener and I wish some of these stories were read and taught in our schools.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, lilyfly, and you're right. We owe them everything.

BTW, we actually won the Vietnam war, despite the attempt by our disgraceful presidents to lose it.

Our stated goal was to stop the spread of communism, and that's exactly what happened! The advance of communism was halted, and the Soviet Union collapsed. Even China is becoming a capitialist nation, and actually scolds the US for being too socialist!

Communism is dying all around the world, and for that, we can thank Vietnam vets like Dusty Tibbs, Wayne Brown, and Steve Weathers.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, Happyboomernurse,

The reality is that wars will always have to be fought if we are to remain free. There's always another Hitler out there willing to kill millions as an ambitious dictator. The enemy today is radical Islam (whose resemblance to Nazis is chilling!), and their stated goal is world domination.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 5 years ago

Brilliant and beautiful.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, QudsiaP1.


randslam profile image

randslam 5 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

Thanks for the story, Will. I've read the book, Flags of our Fathers, and only knew of what "medal" you spoke of because of this frank biography written by one of the sons of the flagraisers on Iwo Jima.

The stark reminder of the deeds that were done in order to grant future generations should not be lost on the left or the right.

I watched a movie yesterday--about the difficulties LBJ had in trying to win a war while being handcuffed by "Kennedy-lovers" after the assassination of JFK--and found it quite revelatory in realizing the escalation of the wars/police actions/skirmishes of both Viet Nam and Korea.

The left or right both need to realize that rhetoric won't work for conservative or liberal--action is action--and required by whomever the president is at any given time.

When Bush was if office--liberals were asked to respect his position--when Obama is in office, shouldn't he also be respected for the position he holds?

It just seems to me that the importance of supporting those who are trying to defend freedom whether soldier or politician is lost on many of us whether conservative or liberal.

Ira Hayes died of hypothermia after years, decades, of alienation and alcohol abuse. He fought for a country that called him, injun, half-breed, etc. The lesson of universal acceptance for acts done for love of country should eliminate the constant, hateful rhetoric of both left and right. Shouldn't it?

Just some thoughts--but I know from experience that most would read your story and not know what "the medal" was--they couldn't even guess--maybe a story on the importance of receiving a country's highest award should be written?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, randslam, and thank you for your comments.


dearabbysmom profile image

dearabbysmom 5 years ago from Indiana

This was the perfect Memorial Day story, WillStarr, or perfect on any day for that matter. I took a college class years ago with some other local adult students, and one of the men kept saying he did not understand why Vietnam vets were "so much more messed up than vets from other wars." I could not understand how he did not understand. Our national treatment of Vietnam Vets was a disgrace.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks, dearabbysmom,

During the War in Vietnam, the far-left openly supported communists like Ho Chi Minh, Mao, and Che Guevara while openly despising American soldiers.

The far left were traitors, and so were leaders of the far left like Jane Fonda. The only thing that saved them was a left-wing president and a Congress to match.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Thank you for honoring those who do so much and receive so little. Your writing touches me in so many ways. Great and beautiful hub.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, toknowinfo,

It was the least I could do.


NotWiredThatWay profile image

NotWiredThatWay 5 years ago from New York

Very touching Will. I don't think any of out veterans are truly appreciated, but the Vietnam vets got the worst treatment ever. To be shipped off to fight the enemy only to return home and find themselves labeled as the enemy. Very raw deal. Thank you.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, NotWiredThatWay, and thank you for the thoughtful comment.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Very good story Will, quite frustrating when you look at the lack of respect that existed for a job that no one wanted to do but many did because they had no other choice!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Chatkath.


Becky 5 years ago

I really appreciated this story. I have had family fight in every single war this country has been in, including the Revolutionary war. Our country fell on hard times because the politicians wanted to make a point.Vietnam could have been won if the country had been behind the soldiers. Instead of being proud and grateful of our Armed Forces of every branch, they were called baby killers and spit on. When my husband returned from Vietnam in 1971, after serving 4 tours in the country, he was told to change out of his uniform before he went back to the U.S. He was with others who did not and they were pelted with rotten fruit, spit on, and had people scream that they were baby killers.

I am proud that the attitude of the people has changed and they are now welcoming the forces home with honor. Vietnam veterans still feel slighted because they were never welcomed home. They will welcome each other home every time they see each other. They do not want anyone to ever feel that they were not welcomed back.

My husband was and is proud of his service to his country.

Thank you for your kind words about our soldiers.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, Becky, and thanks to your entire family, and especially to your husband, for their splendid service.


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Awesome hub, Will. Very Awesome. I guess you can imagine that this story has a very special meaning for me -- a story about one of my fallen brothers. I salute you, my good friend, and I will always be grateful to you for publishing this work and sharing it with all of us.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you for your service my friend, and for the service of all your brothers, including the one you are remembering.

I'm happy that my little tribute is acceptable.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Will - this is the first hub I've had the pleasure of reading of yours. Great story - super impressive writing. This made me think about how confused I was being so young in the 1970's - I remember patriotism being prevalent and something we were taught to be proud of at home and in school. Then something changed and people were all whispering about it. I was born in 1967 - so soldiers were coming home but there was anguish and no celebrating. It was so confusing and I knew adults didn't like me asking questions about it.

Voted up and everything but funny.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi, RealHousewife,

That makes me old enough to be your father! :-)

The young people who despised the veterans of Vietnam are now near retirement, and are also mostly conservatives who are ashamed of those foolish days and the way they treated our vets.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

They should be (I'm biased though because I have several family members who are military). I recently was at a homeless camp - lots of them were veterans. That breaks my heart.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

The young tend to be liberal, but as we age and reality slaps us in the face, we usually become far more conservative. As Winston Churchill put it:

“If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 5 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you Will, for an awewsome and touching story. Thank you for sharing it. Godspeed. creativeone59


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Hi Faye, and thank you!


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 4 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

This was a touching story. Vietnam Vets hold a special place in my heart. I hope they know how much I appreciate them. When I see a homeless vet or one in a wheelchair with missing limbs begging for change, It makes me hate our government. These brave men should be living like kings in America.

Thank you for a beautiful piece of work.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank you, lisadpreston. It's one of my favorites.

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