This is all too of a reality for many Vietnam veterans. The only good that I can see that came from it is that those of us that have gone after them have not had to pay the same reality that affects so many. We can now fight the system about things like what they injected us with, what medications they really gave to us, what we were really exposed to but they cannot tell the public. I usually cannot give them much when I see them on the side of the road, other than maybe a life somewhere. When I see them other places or at the veterans hospital I give them what appreciation and at the very least welcome them home. You would be surprised how many still have yet to hear that from a place of gratitude and thankfulness. Here’s to the price they continue to pay, the price my generation is beginning to pay, and to those yet to come all we can simply say is thank you for your service from at least one person and hopefully a grateful nation. The true heroes, as most veterans will tell you, are the ones that were not able to make it back, or through the repercussions of war alive. To those we can never be grateful enough for their ultimate sacrifice.
You’ve seen me. I’m the man standing at the intersection holding a small, poorly written message on a cardboard sign. I’m the woman peering into your window at the stop light, hoping you will reach out your hand and drop some change into mine. Most people don’t even have the decency to look me directly in the eye. Are you frightened of me? Are you so engrossed in your own personal world that you don’t notice me? Or, is it something else? Has the cold reality of indifference permeated the very fiber of every human being not sleeping on the streets?
I understand you don’t know me. You see me as a complete stranger, begging for money or cigarettes. Granted, there are some who wander around mooching off others simply because they lack the desire to wake up every morning and go into work. Having figured out that wearing old…
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