Who’s Sorry Now?
To every Vietnam soldier and veteran living and dead: I owe you this letter for nearly 27 years spent in regret due to a misguided ’60s idealism. Who’s sorry now? I am. I am sorry.
. . . for parading in self-righteous smugness, unharmed while you marched tired and scared in fear for your life.
. . . for raising a sign against you when you were dodging bullets.
. . . for saying you didn’t have to go when you had no choice other than that given to the rich or a draftdodger.
. . . for putting you between a governmental rock and a conscientious hard place while you were bogged down in Cong-infested jungles.
. . . for shouting at you that “War kills,’ while you lay dead and silent.
. . . for standing by voiceless in your defense while you defended what I didn t say–with your life.
. . . for not supporting you while you held up a wounded brother or carried his dead body, under fire, to a waiting chopper.
. . . for not understanding that what the government did to Vietnam it also did to you and me.
I’m sorry that when I thought I fought the government, I fought against you while you only fought to stay alive. What you had to endure while you fought to survive I could only guess, and when you returned, I’m sorry I didn’t welcome you home to show you how relieved and happy I was that you came home safely and how guilty and sad I felt for those who did not?and for the suffering, the pain and the loss of those you left wondering, as you were listed POW and MIA–even now, no one knows where you are.
We are of a generation–of a unity–and yet we were so easily broken apart by ideas. Perhaps still are. When we stand for what we believe to be human rights in principle, we lose the fact that the true sense of all humanity is understanding, respect and individual dignity. I’m sorry for an intellectual disregard of your suffering.
This is both a most personal and public apology and long overdue. In unity and humanity, thank you for your sacrifice.