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LETTER: Vietnam vets object to Vietnam Veterans Day

To the Editor:

On Monday, January 31, the following letter was delivered by Rep. Mike Lajoie (D-Lewiston) to the State and Local Government Committee in Augusta with a request that it be read into the public record.

Subject: Adoption of a Vietnam Veteran’s Day

Dear Committee Members,

It is with deep heartfelt thanks we applaud State Representative Cheryl Briggs for her attempt to right the disgraceful treatment perpetrated on returning Vietnam veterans 40-plus years ago.

In our country’s 235-year history, only one war was lost. Though the intentions of this bill are appreciated, its passage for many will reopen old wounds, reminding us that our sacrifices went for naught.

We already have two national holidays honoring the sacrifices made by our country’s veterans. On Memorial Day we remember and honor the dead of all wars. It also gives pause to those who served during a conflict to remember their fallen brothers and sisters.

On Veteran’s Day we honor all who wore the uniform of our country. It affords a time of public recognition and appreciation to those who served. It also provides a time to reflect on their service with old comrades, friends and family.

Upon returning home from Vietnam, we were treated like enemy combatants. The severely wounded and maimed were subject to street demonstrations where protestors prominently displayed North Vietnamese flags while desecrating ours. The bodies of our fallen brothers returned home to protestors calling for a victory by our enemy.

What caused this? Cowardice!

There is nothing wrong with being scared. However, when you defile honorable men and women and make scapegoats out of them in order to keep your manhood (or lack thereof) intact—this is unforgivable.

According to a statistic that is floating around, four out of every five of our Vietnam brothers and sisters who served in-country have gone to a better place and are awaiting our arrival. Since we can’t all participate in this honor, the few of us left should not be feted either.

Respectfully,

Dave Bradbury, Richard Carter, John Doerr, Carl Douglass, Joseph Laliberte, Robert Macdonald, Bill Malay, Phil Pelletier, John Rivard, Irving Scribner, Stephen Spooner, Mike Tatosian and Eric Tielinen.

This Bill has brought up bitter emotional feelings in many Vietnam veterans. The above letter represents these feelings and serves as a way to insure civility and order at the State Committee Hearing.

Robert Macdonald

Lewiston

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