I was born too late to really “live” through Viet Nam, but I’ve read and seen enough to realize there were a lot of lessons we learned as a nation. One of the most profound was that, regardless of your feelings on the war, you do NOT take them out on those who go off and fight it. The guys on the front lines don’t set policy, they’re just serving our country, and to take out our frustrations on them is just wrong. We alienated and scarred a whole generation of those who served our nation, and in many ways we’re still paying the price for that.
It’s not talked about much, but it’s probably the most significant social change brought out by that war.
I’ve noticed it a lot lately. It seems that nearly every highway overpass I see has a home-made “WELCOME HOME” or a “COME HOME SAFE” or “WE’RE PROUD OF” or — most sad of all — “IN MEMORY OF” banner for at least one service member, by name. Radio stations hold drives to get supplies and care packages for troops, and the biggest fashion accessory on cars these days are gold, red/white/blue, or camouflage ribbons.
(Note: links are NOT safe for those with high blood pressure or heart problems. Vice President Cheney, you in particular should not click on any of them.)