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I got leave after basic and tech school. Actually not really leave, but after tech school they flew me commercial from Wichita Falls, Tx. to Seattle to be assigned at McChord AFB near Ft. Lewis. Had to fly in uniform, and when I got to the airport I asked if there was a possibility of changing my flight to depart the plane in Portland, Or. since I had a week to sign in at McChord!
So I got to Portland and called my parents to pick me up. Walked through the terminal with my uniform and duffel bag, and a cute young gal came walking up to me, which surprised me, but surprised me even more when she called me "baby killer" and spit on me. Thought I was gonna get lucky, but got the opposite.
 

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As a 20 year-old I arrived in Vietnam to fight an escalating and increasingly unwinnable war. It was after returning to the US n while in route that I first encountered hostility. Looking out around the airport and seeing civilians my excitement turned to confusion. I remember feeling like, what could I do to acknowledge them and I just gave the peace signal. Instead of getting return peace fingers, I got the middle finger. Other veterans who served survived unspeakable horrors coming home offered its own kind of trauma. Some were being spit on. Vietnam vets were met with none No 'Welcome Home' parades. Vets came back by themselves rather than with their units or companies. Vietnam was a lost war and u don’t have parades for soldiers coming home from a war they lost. Celebrations aside, the government also failed to make good on its promises to those who served. GI benefits were lacking. I did cash in my educational benefits n when it came to finding a job, I was met with thinly veiled disgust from learning I was a Vietnam vet. Deeds need to be done in addition to words. I appreciate the respect of ‘thank you’ because that was something I never received when I came home. It’s better than nothing. It’s better than them walking away and not even recognizing you. But what are you doing in addition to saying ‘thank you’?
 
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