Regardless of political leanings to the left, right, or anywhere in between, we expect American citizens to show respect to those in uniform. This has not always been the case.
Flashback to the Vietnam War era.
The G.I.’s returning home from the unpopular Vietnam Conflict, during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, were protested and threatened when wearing uniforms in public. It was even necessary to hide their tell-tale haircuts when in civilian attire. Most were barely out of high school when they were drafted and quietly arrived home, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
This is a personal issue in my household. My husband enlisted into the military at age 17 during the era of draft numbers and Vietnam. He was on military flights that had to be gated off from the public, upon landing, due to anti-war protests. In the United States, they tried to hide their military identity when engaged in activities off base for their own safety. During military leaves and upon returning home to the Midwest, he remembers going to area dances only to have individuals against the Vietnam war wanting to inflict physical harm because of his service. Not much of a welcome home.
Now military service is acknowledged with send-off ceremonies and welcome home celebrations while families at home have access to a network of support groups. Challenges still exist as war is never pretty, popular or pleasant, but at least we are not adding to the stress. Vietnam veterans can’t help but think, where was all this when I returned?