In 1971 I joined the Navy and like so many others from our surrounding community ended up in a war zone in Southeast Asia. We were all raised watching movies that showed Americans going to World War II, doing their duty for God and Country and returning to a grateful United States.
The young men and women that participated in this “conflict” returned to America with no fanfare. Since there was no official declared war there was no official end to the so-called “police action”. No one welcomed home the troops and many did not want to recognize th ignored the war.
Some took advantage of a common border with Canada that allowed easy access to a country that had no extradition treaty for dodging the draft and allowed Americans to remain with no fear of deportation. During the Gulf War there was a man working for the company that employed me. He was doing everything possible to support the American troops that were landing in 1991 to push Iraq out of Kuwait. A friend, Tom O’Rourke, a Marine chopper pilot told me that the man helping the troops had gone to Canada to evade the draft and came back to America when President Carter granted amnesty. According to Tom, the man had a debt he was trying to repay to America.
Other Americans took to the street in protest of the war. There were marches on Washington and Memphis. The generation that won World War, many consider to be the greatest generation of the nation, had a hard time understanding what was happening to our country. There were mixed emotions and this was tearing at the fabric of our great nation. Eventually President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election.
In the Deep South we were somewhat buffered from the protests that were going on in the North. While there were no welcome home parties there was little or no ridicule either. For the most part the families were proud of the men and women that went to war. This was not the case in other parts of our country.
While I was working in the northern part of Saudi Arabia in the Offshore Projects Group we had a materials man that was a great employee. He always had a smile and received great self-reward just knowing that he had performed his work to everyone’s expectations. Several years later while working on the East West Pipeline, Bill Sime a former SAS member that had worked with me in Offshore Projects, asked me if I knew what had happened to our materials man when he had returned from Viet Nam. He was a Recon Marine and his one desire when returning from war was to visit our nation’s capital. He put on his uniform and boarded a bus so that he could ride it around Washington. He felt proud and honored. At on stop a woman walked past him, stopped, turned around, looked at the young marine and spit on him. My heart sank when I heard that story and it still haunts me to this day.
America matured and so did many of the individuals that burned the American flag and dishonored the service men and women that went to war for our country. When Desert Storm took place America had an opportunity to pay the young men women the homage they deserved. It was as if America had an opportunity to get it right and this time there was no holding back. This well-deserved respect is observed daily. Broadcasting fathers surprising their children by returning early from overseas to turning out for the Wounded Warrior project demonstrates the true American spirit. Unfortunately there is a certain element that also demonstrates everything that is bad with our country.
Recently a former air force enlisted female was arrested for attacking a man that was stomping a flag. How sad that the perpetrator was not arrested but since there is no law to stop desecrating the symbol of our country arrests are not an option. Even more disturbing was drunk members of a fraternity spitting on wounded servicemen in Florida after desecrating American flags in a most despicable manner. We need laws to protect Ole Glory. She has waved proudly over the ramparts of our great nation. Pampered children and losers that find power dishonoring our flag should be held accountable for their actions. While protesting has been a part of our country since its’ beginning and has been guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, we need to draw the line at the desecration of our flag and get some laws passed to do sol
I know that if I see it happening there will be retribution to pay and if I land in jail defending our flag or service men I will wear my orange jump suit as a badge of honor.


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