I would like to reply to the Sound-Off caller in the April 4 paper who asks if I am suppressing the facts in my letter in which I said I would send Vietnam War hippies and peaceniks to Venus.
To clarify the matter, I had respect for the people who honestly opposed the war and had valid reasons for their beliefs. However, I despised the protestors who resorted to bombings, burnings, desecration of the American flag, rampant drug use, attacks and assaults on police officers and other violent and destructive measures. They were the ones we could have done better without.
Personally, I went out of my way to get a combat tour in Vietnam and also extended my tour there. If given it all to do over, I would request duty in Vietnam again, although I would do some things different beforehand.
John Paul Jones once said: “I would lay down my life for America, but I cannot trifle with my honor.” Those words reflect my sense of duty and honor. I do not regret serving in Vietnam.
Frank B. Austin, O’Fallon