Let Freedom Reign
This year the 4th of July is a little different for me. We didn’t have the big family barbecue. No picnic, boating or fireworks. Today I went to Princeton, Minnesota to see The Vietnam Veterans Memorial – The Moving Wall. I have always wanted to visit the wall. It holds deep meaning for me as it was a large part of my childhood, indeed it has impacted my entire life.
My father went to Vietnam when I was five years old. I was old enough to understand that he was gone to fight in a war far away. That he flew in helicopters to help the sick and wounded soldiers. Old enough to know that he was gone, and that he might not ever come home. But I was one of the lucky ones. My daddy came home.
I was too young then to hear about all the anti-war media reports or to even know that a lot of people didn’t think our soldiers were the heroes I knew they were. I’m sure my mom kept that from us. But as I grew older I began to hear more. To see the way the vets were treated and to hear the media reports. They didn’t have a clue to the reality. They didn’t even care or understand that so many lives were being ruined by their false rhetoric. They didn’t care that my friend didn’t even know if her dad was dead or alive. He was MIA, Missing In Action. I will always wonder if he came home to his little girl.
Today I was honored to stand in front of The Moving Wall surrounded by many of the Mille Lacs County Vietnam Vets. I heard a true patriot and Vietnam Vet named Tom Newman tell about his time there. He was there in 1968, about the same time my dad was there. He spoke of how Hollywood sensationalized the war, about how the media didn’t bother to tell the truth and how the newspapers gave only parts of the story for maximum effect. He wasn’t telling us a story. He was just telling us how it was.
My father never really liked to talk about the war or his experiences with us, and I understand that. I only know a few of the things that happened to him. So it was good to hear Mr. Newman talk about what really happened. But even better was to understand why it happened. Our soldiers did not fight in vain. If you really want to understand Vietnam, forget the movies and all the other fictional stuff. Talk to a real live Vietnam Vet.
I left the fairgrounds with a renewed sense of faith in the future of this country as I watched a young boy, about 14 years old walk among the crowd. He went from one Vet to another, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service. I was touched by how many people were there. I was moved to tears as each solider was finally, after fifty long years finally honored with an official welcome home handshake and tribute for their service. I left with renewed determination to do my part to never let communism and socialism destroy this wonderful country where, whatever faults it may have, we are still free.
Senator Andrew Matthews’s beautiful words touched my heart as he spoke, “Jesus said that there is no greater sacrifice than for a man to lay down his life for his brother. Behind me stands a wall filled with the greatest love.”