Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heartfelt Words from My Dad

My father -- a Vietnam veteran who, until recently, has not shared a whole lot of his experiences -- wrote this letter this morning. He sent it to me because, "I thought you might be able to use it on your newspaper whatever thing."

It's called a blog, Dad. (And I say that -- rolling my eyes -- with love.) 

This blog is (usually) about writing -- how to write so that your words have an effect on people. Today, the lesson is 'writing from the heart.' And the lesson is an easy one: If you write the truth as you know it,  you won't have to worry about the effect of your words, because they'll have a power all their own:

To those of you who served, this letter is to you:

Welcome Home and Thank You for Your Service to Our Country!

Believe it or not, after all of these years, they have finally decided to say, "Welcome Home!" to the Vietnam Veterans.

There was actually a resolution passed in the House earlier this year designating March 30 2011 Welcome Home Vietnam Vets Day, by Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC) and endorsed by 5 other members of the house. – I’m impressed.

I happened to stumble across this in a news article from the VFW letter I receive periodically – I personally have certainly not seen a whole lot in the press (printed or electronic) or on the television.

And as far as a "Welcome Home" goes, this should go out to all Veterans, for any hazardous duty assignment, not just Vietnam. People ended up just as dead in Korea, Grenada, Mogadishu Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. It is a shame that it took the event of 9/11 to wake people up to the fact that veterans and their families make sacrifices, and that politics and service to this country are not a dividing line that determines whether or not you should thank someone for their service.

The military has been the mainstay of the defense in this country, and allows people the liberties that we all enjoy. A simple "Thanks" and "Welcome Back" should not have to be solicited – but sadly, that appears to be the point we have devolved to.

In my opinion, Vietnam got all the attention because of all of the political protests and the stigma brought out by the press coverage – everyone from every conflict should have been welcomed back. We all did a job, be it significant or insignificant, with several goals – uphold the Constitution, defend the people, obey lawful orders, get back in one piece -- or at least enough pieces to function .

Remember, all gave some – some gave All.  Celebrate that (for more than just one day a year) PLEASE.

Michael C. Bartha
Specialist 5
Hazardous Duty Service 1970 - 1971
HQ Company, 1st Signal Brigade – Phu Bai
337th Signal Co. M/W, 1st Signal Brigade -101st Airborne Div Camp Eagle
Active Service May 20, 1958 – March 16, 1973
Status – Disabled Veteran

Vietnam was one of the most boring experiences of my life, interrupted by moments of sheer terror.
My parents' wedding, February 7, 1970, one week before my father left for Vietnam


  1. Frank Spence3/30/2011 nice to put this on for your dad. I LOVE the wedding picture. Tell Mikey that he was almost as skinny as I was on wedding day! Frank Spence

  2. Bob Paravecchia3/31/2011

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks so much for posting your dad's welcoming home tribute to all veterans of not only the Vietnam war, but all post World War II wars. This day has been a long time coming and should have received the recognition it rightfully deserved in the news. I too did not see anything on the local or world news about March 30th being "Welcome Home Vietnam Vets Day." I guess if it was about Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen it would have been the top story of the night.

    Let me say, it has been a privilege to have known, worked with your dad and to call him a friend.

    I too, love the photo of your mom and dad on their wedding day.

    Thanks once again,
    Bob Paravecchia