Hi! Happy Veteran’s Day!
My cousin Linda sent the following email to me, which brought tears to my eyes because it hit so close to home.
In 1970 when the military started drafting husbands and fathers for the first time since WW II, Craig was drafted and sent to Viet Nam as a foot soldier (aka grunt) leaving behind Laura and me. There was no way to explain to a two-year old that Daddy was off fighting a war, so she kept searching for him. At the sight of any old geezer on the street, her eyes would light up and she would inquire in a tremulous voice, “Daddy?” When Craig was discharged, he missed his connecting flight out of Chicago, so John who had a fast car drove Laura and me to O’Hare to pick up Craig. We all entered the terminal at the same time and Laura ran to Craig laughing as tears streamed down her face saying, “I knew I had a Daddy!”
At that time there was a vicious hateful mood in the country towards the military, there were no returning heroes welcomes like after WW II and soldiers were more likely to be spat upon in airports. So Craig never volunteered that he was a Viet Nam vet. Then in 1983 when Laura was a flagger marching in the Three Rivers Parade with Northrop’s Big Orange Pride, a small rag-tag group of men in camo marched by holding homemade signs saying “Viet Nam Vets” and the crowd gave them a standing ovation! It still makes me cry, so you can see why the following email touched my heart.
P.S. Craig also saw Bob Hope and Ann Margaret in Da nang Christmas ‘71 – He was sitting in a sea of men so far away from the stage that he could barely see them!