Sunday, September 11, 2011

Welcome Home - A Tribute to a Hero

1000 meters (1 Klick)  outside Con Thien in Vietnam, Carl C was greivously wounded on May 27, 1969. His weeks long homecoming parade from Vietnam consisted of a few days in hospitals from Dong Ha and DaNang, Vietnam, to Guam, Japan, and onward to Washington DC. There he was transported from an airport to a military hospital in a bus with chained link fencing over the windows to keep protestors from bashing them. A few days later he was on board an intensive care hospital flight to the Charleston, SC naval hospital and months later made it to Georgia's Dekalb VA Hospital. Along the way, he underwent over 25 operations and  spent months in a body cast. He was
put on the Marine Corps' permanently disabled  retired list with a VA disability of 100%  plus loss of use of a hand and a foot . 

Since 9-11 and America's recent wars, being a Vietnam veteran has finally become honorable. Before then, veterans from Vietnam weren't welcomed  home by their fellow  Americans, not even by some veterans of previous wars. Our country was disenchanted with that war and blamed the warriors instead of the politicans. After all the Vietnam vets  became the symbols of  an epidemic of drugs, violence, homelessness and other symptoms of dysfunction. 

Nine years ago, my husband, Carl C, joined the Marine Corps League. Slowly my long haired, bearded recluse of a husband transformed into a rehabilitated Marine. He found his long lost tribe. These men were several generations of Marines and they understood and supported each other. Carl C greeted all combat veterans from then on with, "Welcome Home and Thank You."

A fellow Marine came home from Afganistan last week with both legs amputated  and many other injuries. His hometown welcomed him with a parade, declared the day, "Tony Mullis Day" and politicians galore escorted him to a ceremony in his honor where they took the opportunity to talk.

Through MCL Detachment 970, Carl C was able to participate in this 2.7 mile Georgia hot summer day parade. As an annoymous veteran, he rolled in his wheelchair  behind the Marine Corps League Color Guard and a lone Highway Patrol bagpiper. At 62, my husband was the youngest man of the lead contingent who were the only ones in the parade who walked (rolled) the entire way.  Heroes each one. 

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