Volunteered for Vietnam
and Proud of it!
by Joe Brown
I come from a large, traditional Catholic family. My parents worked hard to support me and my other brothers and sisters. We weren't abused. We didn't have a lot of luxuries growing up, but we had each other and parents that loved us and supported us.
I volunteered to join the Marine Corps in 1964 and served 4 years including 13 months in Vietnam. I didn't do drugs or smoke weed. I served honorably. I wasn't a hero, but I know a lot of guys who came from similar backgrounds who were heroes.
After leaving the Marine Corps I went to night school for 10 years and earned my degree. During that time I worked full time in the banking industry, married, and helped raise a daughter.
We didn't get any parades when we came home, but we didn't ask for any either. All any of us ever wanted was the respect we earned, just like our fathers and grandfathers earned in WWI and WWII.
I've been married now for nearly 39 years (to the same woman) and have a successful, educated 33 year old daughter.
I have nothing to hang my head about even though we weren't treated well when we returned from Vietnam.
You make a very important point, and one that I think is lost on many - Vietnam veterans are no different from any of America's other veterans, and they deserve to be treated with the same respect given to the generations of veterans both before and after them.
We thank you for your service, and thank you for sharing your story to help us fight against the Vietnam veteran stereotype ignorantly repeated by many who've accepted it as truth.
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