Right way to treat our vets

October 21, 2013 

PERHAPS I NEED therapy, but I often wonder: What was American thinking in the '70s when they spit and yelled at returning Vietnam heroes. Granted, I was a young kid when this was going on, but I can remember my dad, 38-year Granite City steelworker, getting furious at those "hippies" disgracing our flag and our returning soldiers. Obviously, their anger should have been directed toward the government responsible -- not the blue-collar kid just doing what he thought was right.

As a veteran myself, I am proud to say Americans have learned their lesson from that historical embarrassment. At the Cardinal game the other night, I was talking to a couple of men in uniform home from Afghanistan. I was amazed at how many people, young and old, came up and thanked them for their service. Nothing better than a humble nod of appreciation reciprocated by a soldier that has seen and done things a kid should never have to. About a month ago I was at John Cochran getting an X-ray on my ankle. I felt unworthy of being there when I saw all of the amputees in line for X-rays. These are kids fighting for the same government crap our boys and ladies did in Vietnam -- money. Oh by the way, a shout-out to the staff at the VA hospital. You are compassionate and have incredible customer service skills. I have worked in health care for more than 20 years and know you can make more money in the private sector but choose to help our vets. God bless you.

Mark Hoge

Collinsville

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