Letters to the Editor

No apology needed, but denial is offensive to vet

Regarding “Boomers protested war not vets.” I can relate to the first writers attitude. I joined the marines when I was 17, and was ordered to Vietnam on my 18th birthday. I won’t claim that the public hated us, but to deny that Viet vets were feared and mistrusted is naïve.

A university professor (female, exempt from the draft, prison or Canada) once bragged to me how she and her friends enjoyed going to spit upon and revile returning veterans. At a job interview, I was asked “ Vietnam, huh. What’s your problem, drugs or alcohol?” Once I was told bluntly that the company had a policy against hiring us as “there are too many problems with you guys.” I learned to omit my military service from my resumes, and hide my past.

Most discrimination was more subtle, but the effect was a lifelong sense of alienation, betrayal and guilt. Therefore, it is hard to see the public fawning on veterans now. My point is simply this, having been treated as a second-class citizen, don’t add insult by denying the mistreatment, which, contrary to Ms. Barckley’s opinion was lasting and widespread. We join you in welcoming the current generation back, and likely empathize more deeply with them.

But understand that we feel doubly slighted, still don’t trust you, and pretending that we weren’t discriminated against is offensive. That’s the wrong scab to pick.

Don Freeman, USMC