Welcome Home, Marine
Jul 71 - Feb 99
Memories from here:
Finishing college at San Jose State U. with degree in finance.
Two wonderful children, Jennifer and Jeff.
Meeting my second (and final) wife, Jan, in 1978.
Two careers: Eleven years in finance, and the past fifteen years in sales of high technology stuff.
I remember the pain of returning to civilian life where people did not "get" me. To be categorized as "baby killers" always was juxtaposition the memories after boot camp of walking into a bar in a small town, uniform on, and attempting to buy a beer. A stranger, old enough to have World War II or Korean War experience, walked over and told me, "Your money is no good here." He paid for the beers we shared that evening.
Circa 1980 I got a longing to be "welcomed home" from Vietnam. Yet I also avoided any chance to go to Veterans' events. Circa 1987 I went to one South Vietnamese Tet Festival for U.S. and South Vietnam veterans and the talk was mostly about how the Vietnamese government had to give the refugees reparations. Didn't feel comfortable there at all.
In 1990 I attended my first anti-war march in Seattle, not wanting the service people to experience the horrible ache of a country that did not welcome home its soldiers. When we actually did engage in the Persian Gulf war I whooped, hollered and shed tears for our men in arms. I guess the people had learned some lessons.
February 7, 1999, a men's group I joined in 1990 gave me a welcome home parade complete with music and speeches which helped me get some completion with our own government, the hippies, and the conscience objectors who labeled us "baby killers" so long ago. That parade inspired the pages you have been reading. Here is the most touching speech for me - Welcome Home, Marine!