By BRIAN SMITH
Monday is Veteran’s Day, a day when Americans are encouraged to remember the 22 million veterans who have served the country in peacetime and war.
After serving their country and defending the freedoms Americans are accustomed to, it’s heartbreaking to hear what some veterans have come home to after serving in wartime. Many having been spit at, told not to wear their uniforms home for fear of retribution and other malfeasance.
Barry Goodson, who served in Vietnam, spoke of what he went through, as did other veterans before Saturday’s Veteran’s Day Ceremony before the annual parade at the Ninth Grade Center. He said respect for veterans has picked up since 9/11, but still leaves a lot to be desired.
“During 9/11, veterans and the country united toward a common goal and the respect for the veterans came back,” Goodson, who was responsible for getting the Veterans Day Parade in Weatherford started in the late 1990s before the American Legion Post 163 took it over, said. “It was kind of a fad. We have to continue to support our guys serving today so what we went through won’t happen again.”
Many veterans have sworn the lack of respect shown to vets of both Vietnam and Korea will not happen again. Legion Post 163 Commander Bill Mallory said the post has had trouble getting Korean veterans to speak about the subject or join the Legion because of the bad taste in their mouths.
“They feel forgotten after what happened,” Mallory, who served three years in the Navy during the Vietnam era, said.
Part of the lack of respect comes from young people who have no idea where their freedoms come from. Mallory said in the Vietnam era nearly everyone was a veteran because of the draft, which isn’t the case anymore.