Monday, August 6, 2012

Vietnam Veterans Spit On.

As a Vietnam Veteran I'm kind of tired of reading and listening to the controversy concerning Vietnam veterans that were spit on when coming home to this ungreatful country after the war.  I read all this garbage of no proof or photos showing anti-war protesters doing this therefore it must not have happened.  Well I for one know it did happen and it did to me also. 

Just as those who claim there is no proof of this spitting event then where is the proof we even came home?  I have yet to see one photograph of a Vietnam veteran arriving home at any airport in the United States.  Gee I guess this means we never came home either. 

I'm not talking about photos of the Vietnam POW'S in which the news media was there at the airport when they came back in 1973.  I'm talking about the regular Vietnam veteran who came home to no fanfare or recognition of the service they performed, other than those anti-war protesters who greeted them with verbal insults, spitting at them, throwing garbage at them, tossing small paper bags filled with human or animal feces at them, and in some instances urinating on the veterans feet while their backs were turned, collecting their luggage at the baggage claim areas. 

Deny or accept it, it did happen and in more than one airport. 

One thing you need to remember is that we didn't have the technology that exists today as far as having the cell phone cameras instantly capturing the events as they do today.  Even the liberal news media of that period were so anti-war in their views and knew what was going on at these airports never sent a news crew to even one airport to capture the returning Vietnam war veterans.  Simply because they had no interest in us other than portraying us as baby killers, dopers, murderers and such.  The media wanted to make sure that they never portrayed us as victims but instead as what the anti-war protestors wanted to portray us as. 

Gee how would it look to have photos of Vietnam veterans assaulted by anti-war protesters at the airports when they were supposedly preaching peace and love?  Sorry media your trick didn't work.  Photos or not, it did happen to us. 

The next phase of the media was to reinforce their attitude of us by portraying us as nut cases, out of control individuals who killed anyone they came in contact with or druggies strung out on every drug immaginable.  Look at the movies at that period of time.  There was usually a Vietnam veteran portrayed as a loser or crazy person assaulting some poor innocent peace loving individual or individuals.  Always in a negative way. 

One movie in particular was called Skyjacked from 1972.  It starred James Brolin as a crazed Vietnam vet bomber who hyjacks a 707 and demands to be taken to Russia.  Are you kidding me?  We fought against communism so why would we want to go to the biggest communist country in the world who supplied North Vietnam with arms to use against us?

TV shows of the time such as Emergency, Chips, and most others had at least one episode portraying the Vietnam vets in a negative light. 

It's bad enough to come home to an ungreatful country but the negative press, movies, and television shows didn't help us much in trying to make an adjustment back into society.  My experience trying to get a job was almost impossible when I filled out an application and put my military service on it.  As soon as the employer got to that part it was sorry we don't have an opening or hiring you would be too controversial to our image or we don't want any dopers working here.  They had no problem making accusations on absolutely no proof whatsoever other than how we were portrayed. 

It got to the point where I stopped putting my military service on an application in order to get a job.  You know what?  I then got job offers and a job almost immediately.  Great country where you have to hide your service to it or you won't get work.  Most vets told me they had to do the same thing.  The one's that didn't ended up on skid row, homeless, or in jail because they went off the deep end because of the continual prejudice against them. 

It doesn't help that alot of us had PTSD that was completly ignored by the Veterans administration because the term and diagnosis didn't even exist back then.  I suffered with what the military classified me as having Neurocirculatory Asthenia and severe anxiety neurosis.  I knew something was wrong with me but I didn't now what.  I had problems sleeping because of nightmares, my heart raced, I had night sweats, and couldn't sleep for more than an hour or two throughout the night.  I didn't want to be around people, and still don't as I felt people were always trying to screw with me trying to get me to go off on them. 

Jobs I got had to be outside types.  I couldn't work in an office environment.  When I worked and and I felt an episode coming on I had to find a quiet, secluded place to get my self back together.  I felt like I was dying inside and was never the same afterwords. 

I went to the VA in Miami for help but they were so overwhelmed with the WW2 and Korean war veterans that I ended up sitting in a hallway for over 6 hours before being seen by a physician who gave me a prescription of valium and told me to see a psychiatrist.  None was available at that VA since they only treated physical problems and they didn't even have a psychiatrist on staff.  So I went to a civilian one and paid out of my own pocket 60 bucks at the time for him to say it must have been something that happened to me in the service and he gave me a prescription of sinequan. 

Needless to say the drugs just made things worse and taking them made it impossible for me to function at my job.  I stopped taking them and just went thru the next few decades trying to cope with the stress and function as well as I could.  I tried to hide my symptoms but sometimes that wasn't always easy.  I'd have an attack but wasn't able to go anywhere to calm down and as a result I'd literally start shaking and sweating and the next thing I knew I'd be let go in that job.  

I never drank alcohol other than an occasional beer once in awhile, never took or used drugs other than ones that were prescribed to me and which I couldn't function with while on them.  So I just suffered with no help, for years. 

So in ending I'm just one of hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans who went thru the same thing and delt with it as well as we could.  I'm not sure to this day if we were the lucky one's to have come back or not.  I'm not sure the past 40 plus years of torment and torture of our minds were worth the fight.  None of us will ever be healed by the way we were treated when we came back home.  It was and still is a continuance of that war.  We weren't allowed to ever forget it by how we were portrayed when we got back and it wasn't for a few days or weeks.  This went on for decades after we returned.  We received no fanfare, no parades, no thanks, and especially no understanding of what we went through.  Many of our own families even turned against us.  Losing wives in divorce, parents alienating us, our own kids pitted against us by the way the Vietnam war was taught in schools.  Mostly being taught as an anti-war movement and we were portrayed as the problem.

We've had some acceptance in the last decade or so, some positive movies about us and some people trying to understand us.  There also seems to be more people claiming to be Vietnam veterans now than ever before.  In a census taken 1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August, 1995.

During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was 9,492,958. 

As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is:  1,002,511.  This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00.  That's 390 per day.  During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served IN-Country is: 13,853,027.  By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE VIETNAM VETS ARE NOT.

What's up with this?  When I got out I couldn't find a handful of my fellow Vietnam veterans now they're everywhere.  Is this the "Chic" thing nowadays?  Now when the few hundred thousand of us that are left and get a little positive publicity everyone want's to get on the bandwagon and claim to be what they are not. 

These posers, most having never served in the military at all or who were thrown out of the military for being flunkies are wanting to steal a little attention for themselves.  The true In-Country vets can weed them out almost instantly but the general public only knows what they see and hear one claiming to be.  Eventually they'll be found out to be the low life weasels, and opportunists they are.