First off, let me extend my thanks to the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. Especially to my uncles who saw action over there and to my Dad who served stateside during that time. Your sacrifices have been sadly overlooked and dismissed for too long. Hopefully this weekend's LZ Lambeau "Welcome Home" will allow all of you to achieve some closure and grow some pride in the efforts you made to preserve freedom throughout the world.
It seemed like LZ Lambeau was actually going to achieve its goal of spotlighting the efforts of those who served in Vietnam--to give those of us too young to have been around at the time and those who couldn't separate the fight from the fighter a chance to properly thank and support the Veterans. But along comes a protest group to reopen old wounds and fire up the empty rhetoric again.
The protest group believes LZ Lambeau is going to be too "pro-war" and will be used as a recruiting tool for the military. That's a laugh. Outside of John Wayne's "The Green Berets" can you think of anything "pro-war" that came out of Vietnam? And if the veterans at LZ Lambeau share the same stories I've heard from other guys who served over there the last thing teenage kids who attend will be thinking is "Man, I've got to get in on that action!!"
The protest group is also upset because they were not allowed to set up their "Memorial Mile" display in the public right of way on streets leading to Lambeau. The memorial sounds like a fine tribute--until you learn that the 4800 headstones represent those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Isn't LZ Lambeau about honoring the service of Vietnam War veterans? Why crash their party with a protest over another war? You don't see World War II vets or those who served in Korea trying to crash this party. Besides, there is plenty of private property around Lambeau Field. If so many people hold the same beliefs as the protest group, it should be easy fill their yards with the gravestones and still make your statement. Undetered, the protest group is going to hold their presentations at a labor hall in Green Bay this weekend. (A labor hall?? Hmmmm)
The protest group even points a finger at our hometown Oshkosh Corporation. The group believes Oshkosh's sponsorship of LZ Lambeau is "proof" this is a big pro-war rally. Does this group know anything about "Truck"? Do they know about the number of veterans who work for the company? Or the number of reservists? Or that the company has been honored by the Veterans Administration, the National Guard and Reserve for its treatment of current and former soldiers and their families? Do they consider that many of the vehicles built by Oshkosh are designed to protect the soldiers who use them? And do they consdier that without the sponsorship money provided by Oshkosh Corporation and other companies this weekend that the LZ Lambeau would probably be held in a city park or a bar parking lot? No--all these people see is the billion dollar contracts the Pentagon awards to Oshkosh and they assume that it's a "greedy" corporation that is "profiteering" from the war.
All the protest group is looking for is publicity--and unfortunately we have given it to them. But their 15-minutes ends this morning. Then the spotlight can shine on those who truly deserve it--not just this weekend--but for the rest of their lives.
Thanks again Vietnam Veterans. Sorry it took us so long to say it.