One thing of note. I do think I was the oldest person there. So it’s worth revisiting this.
Several of the panels, and any number of the participants talked about Viet Nam in the past (as – to be avoided) tense but I’m not so sure if there is a connection in fact.
‘Nam vets may well be passe. Perhaps rightly so, but it ain’t much fun, and I gotta ask… what might be lost?
Part of me is frustrated about the energy expended to re-invent the wheel. Mostly I wanna say bless ’em, and move on.
But then… being just another footnote is challenging. Might even be worse. ‘These old guys are losers, but we’re gonna win’. Well, I’m not sure that was said explicitly, but it seemed the tone.
So… I went and had a good time; met some wonderful folks, and came away with a vague unease.
I reckon I’ll be taking a step back and re-focusing on what I can do. Many of us have been working to see to it that these ‘young guns’ don’t go though what did.
They come home to a ‘thanks for your service’ partly because of our efforts… and that is good enough for me.
It’s worth noting that many of us ‘Nam vets have played a role few talk about. When Kerry made his attempt we were in the vanguard with the ‘Kerry Lied’ rally. From that grew the GoE and other related efforts.
I’ll speculate a bit, but I wonder if we hadn’t done so – would the VVAW/IVAW and their cronies have been where they are now?
Maybe we’re fighting one last battle of the Vietnam war?