They walk among us, each and every day. Some in physical pain; some emotionally spent – for some, both.
The heroes who were there don’t seek recognition – in fact, more often than not, they prefer to keep their stories to themselves. In their minds, they aren’t heroes – just Americans who answered the call to duty.
The heroes left behind are the spouses, children, parents, siblings, and friends who received the horrible news and have lived on without their lost beloved. At each wedding, family reunion, holiday gathering, birthday party, youth ballgame, homecoming, prom, and graduation, they are reminded of the seat not taken by their lost hero.
They carry memories of the 58,220 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who were lost in Vietnam – all of them. To them, they are well beyond names carved in a wall – they are personalities, laughter, smiles, hugs, and voices that left and never returned.
And so, this day and all days, may we remember the fallen and the missing. May we offer a prayer of thanks for their service and for the peace and comfort of those who still mourn their loss. May we give thanks, too, for those who stand on point yet today defending our freedoms. And, may we remember not just this day, but all days – as their loved ones do.
Vietnam Veteran’s Day. Remember. Never Forget.