I was chatting with a 1-5 Army wife recently. I said I remember my dad leaving for war, twice. I remember the separation, the nightly prayers, the impatient wait for letters and the joy when one would arrive.
But I didn’t remember any homecomings.
The wife said that it’s the painful memories that seem to stick with us.
I thought about it. No, that can’t be right. I would remember a homecoming.
So I called my dad.
Hey, Dad, was there a homecoming celebration when you returned?
Cheryl, Vietnam was unpopular.
I know, I know, Dad. I know the community wasn’t supportive. I mean on the military base. Was there a band? And “welcome home daddy” signs? Cheering? Flags waving?
No bands. Nothing. Nothing.
Not even at the base?
What did you do?
I’d have to think about it. The second tour I probably flew into Fort Lewis. Mom was waiting. I went home.
And I went back to duty.