I’ve been asked to speak this Veterans Day about my military experience. While I’m proud to have served in the U.S. Navy, and am officially a Vietnam War veteran, I’m almost embarrassed to say so because I didn’t really do anything. I mean seriously.
I once heard a person who went ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day and was spellbound by the nonchalant bravery he offered.
All my ship did was haul an admiral from port to port in the Far East. We stopped in Danang Harbor in South Vietnam each month so we could collect extra pay for being in a war zone. I remember hearing machine gun fire in the jungle a mile or two away, but if somebody was shooting at me, standing watch on my ship in the middle of the harbor, they must have had awfully poor aim because I never noticed.
The only thing about my service in the military that was notable was the same as it is for everyone else. During your time in uniform, you never know if, much less when, you will be put in harm’s way. Someone has to be the first line of defense for the rest of us, and I did what I thought was my duty. But I was lucky.
Putting me in the same category as those who served in Vietnam for 13 months is a travesty. Those guys are my heroes.