Forgotten Vets' Recognition
April 6, 2023
There was a war that this nation became involved in that bitterly divided it with the men who served and died, being caught right in the middle. It was the Vietnam Conflict, where thousands of young American men went and fought for a cause many said that America should not have gotten involved. Unlike Pearl Harbor, America was not attacked as was in World War II, but leaders from presidents down to the military saw otherwise. We all know someone who has either served or died from the war, as it has left thousands of veterans over 50 years later scarred for life. Over the past decades, there have been numerous efforts to truly honor the men that served. One of those efforts was recently done for the local Vietnam veterans at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum. While being unceremoniously labeled as "forgotten", veterans from that era were not welcomed home with open arms, which left a stigma on them that greatly affected their health. The people at Chenault said that something more needs to be done. An event was held on March 29, 2023, to honor those who gave so much to this nation. One of the honored veterans was "From Sword to Pen" author Arthur "Silver Fox" Edwards, who remembers those days so well. "It's important for the kids to understand that the future that they're going to have, that the foundation was already laid by some of these guys," he said, paying homage to his fellow veterans. Echoing those turbulent times in America, Edwards said that the young men "went from prom to Nam", as they missed a lot of things, one of them "courting" the girl next door. Instead, Edwards said those young men "were ducking and dodging bullets" just to stay alive. As the veterans returned home, the impact of the war followed them. They learned a tough lesson that they had to conquer their fears or let it hamper the way they function, one veteran said. It's been a long time coming for the remaining veterans of the Vietnam War who are still alive. The sacrifices they made are being recognized. One veteran said that someone thanked him for his service to the nation, which left him somewhat in awe because it took them a long time to get the recognition they deserved. "Freedom is not free," said Edwards, "somebody has to pay. We all pay if we ignore what it means to be free". Those who "came of age" during the time of the Vietnam War/Conflict remember the unrest on college campuses, including the killing of those students at Kent State. America should always honor its vets, whether the conflict is large or small. Someone will leave and not come back. Art Edwards and his comrades truly understand that. Still, they answered the call, leaving behind a life that so many of us enjoyed while he and his fellow veterans were ducking and dodging bullets. Freedom is not free.