Unfettered Musings

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Swift Boat Vets.....Heroes Still

I have not posted an entry about the Swift Boat Vets because, quite frankly, I didn't feel equal to the task. I am awed and humbled by their service and their sacrifice, both when they served honorably in Vietnam and when they became heroes once again in the 2004 presidential election. We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never repay, and we owe them an apology that should have never been necessary.
From the bottom of my heart: Thank you for standing up once again to fight for your country. Thank you for helping to ensure that a new generation of fighting men and women will not endure spiteful vitriol and humilitation from a country that owes them everything. Thank you for being willing to have your character assassinated once again in the public forum for a worthy cause. Thank you for helping to restore the dignity to those vets who have never had the opportunity to tell their side of the story to the world. Thank you for helping to restore the honor that was ripped from them when a lying political opportunist named John Kerry told the world that they were rapists and murderers. And.....thank you and ALL vets for fighting valiantly and honorably on behalf of our country in Vietnam.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I sincerely hope that the bold activism on the part of the SBV's to dispell the myths about the war in Vietnam will be a turning point for all of the men who have suffered in silence for so long, ashamed instead of proud. You and the rest of the men who served with you may not get the parades and the glory that should have been yours, but you WILL have the satisfaction of knowing that a new generation knows the truth and that we are grateful to you. Our children and their children will hear a different story than the one spun by a liar over 30 years ago. They will be told the truth.

You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your actions touched more lives than you will ever fully realize. You have induced a dialogue that is long overdue between Vietnam vets and their families and friends. Many vets are able to tell their children about their service for the first time, and are able to speak about it with pride. One such dear vet has given me permission to reprint his thanks here. It is with honor and humble gratitude that I do so:

To: The Swift Boat Veterens For Truth
From: The Advocate
Date: 15 Nov. 04
Subject: WELL DONE!

As one of those millions that John Kerry slandered so many years ago, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what I was never able to do. Refute the lies, and false allegations of John Forbes Kerry.

And for exposing him for the lying hypocritical son-of-a-bitch that he is, for the entire world to see.
For telling my children, and my grand-children that I am not a monster, and I never was. I only wish that my Mom and Dad could have lived to see what you have done. My oldest sister is talking to me again, after a year and a half of silence from her, because she believed in Kerry. But you opened her eyes and showed her the truth.
My daughter, Sarah, went up into the attic, and found the box that I had placed my medals and other reminders of my service in, 29 years ago, and have not seen since. I hid them in shame, because John Kerry, and his kind told lies about me.
She took my old uniform and had it cleaned and pressed, polished the brass to a fare-thee-well, to such high shine, my D.I. would have been in tears with pride, so bright were they.
I came home from work, and she was there, along with my other daughter, Megan. They brought out the uniform, and said, "Daddy, would put this on?"
When I asked her why, she said, "because we want to have out picture taken with our dad, who is a real American hero".
I told that I was no hero, just a guy trying to da my job, and come home alive. They both said, "You're a hero to us, you always have been, and you always will be."
That was too much. For the first time in 30 years, I cried my eyes out. For my lost brother, and my friends, for all who gave their lives in Vietnam, for those who suffered the tortures of the dammned for decades, and for whom the war never ended.
When I had no tears left, we talked, and for the first time, I could speak about what I experienced without pain. It was something that I needed more than I knew.
Anyway, I now have a great photo of Sarah, myself (in uniform), and Megan, also in uniform. Needless to say, it is a photo that I will always, always treasure.

To this, I owe to the words, deeds, and sacrifices made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

For myself, my children, my grandchildren, and millions of others who were silent for too many years, and whom you have finally freed, my deepest thanks to you.
God Bless You All.

We may have served in different branches, and areas, and times, but I feel proud, and priviliged to count the SBVTs among MY "Band of Brothers".
Gentlemen, I salute you.

P.S., Sarah informed me last night that she is enlisting in the Air Force next Monday. Because of the honor, integrity, and sense of duty that you have shown her. Thanks, fellas! I am so damn proud!

If you'd like to read more notes of thanks or offer your own, you can do so here.

Update: The Last Mission: The Swift Boat Veterans gather to assess their impact on the campaign.