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Touched by the Brotherhood

We visited the traveling Viet Nam Wall this afternoon, after finishing lunch at the airport. This was the last day of its visit here, they conducted the closing ceremony at 1400 hours.

Many young men, good boys of my high school and college circles, did not return safely. That is not unusual given the era, as it is not unusual for the Gulf I, Iraq, and Afghanistan generations. Too much blood. Too much pain. Too much grief.

As I walked the wall today, I recalled visits to The Wall and the Viet Nam Soldiers Memorial in Washington, D.C. I visited there several times when on business travel and never left untouched. I used to sit on one of the overlooking benches and observe people as they communed with loved ones. Tender moments.

Like many wars, the Viet Nam war was not just. That is not always the case, of course, but it was in this instance. I won’t get into that here except to say that national leaders carry a responsibility and accountability, and it isn’t to their own ego. Enough said.

My own experience is pretty mundane compared to the guys who were in the jungle. I had it easy in Thailand, working on airplanes. Yes, I did get detailed to a flying job for a spell and yes, there were a few interesting moments, but really … nothing compared to those who were in it up to their necks every day on the ground. I do not regret that I was not one of them, but I would have been willingly if that had been my lot.

I honor those who serve, no matter their rank or job. It takes an Army, or Air Force, or Navy, or Marines, or Coast Guard to do the job. As in so many things in life, one is incomplete without the others.

I had it relatively easy but still consider myself part of the brotherhood. It is a brotherhood I am proud of, and I was touched by it today.

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