From hit by eggs to 'Thank you for your service' - Albuquerque Journal

From hit by eggs to ‘Thank you for your service’

When U.S. military service members came back home from Vietnam, they often were shunned, spit on, discriminated against (for) getting work. At best they were ignored. For many years. Even by the veterans from World War II – our Greatest Generation.

The safest course of action was to take off the uniform, stash it in your sea bag or put it in a Dumpster, hunker down and pretend like you never even saw a war movie, let alone thought about serving. In short, most were not welcomed home or thanked for their service.

Decades passed and the social fabric of the nation changed. Many of those who screamed in protest: “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min, Ho Chi Min is gonna win” and applauded Hanoi Jane (Fonda) at some point began to separate their feelings about the Vietnam War into disagreement with political decisions and decision makers and their feelings about the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were either drafted or volunteered to do what they thought their country wanted them to do in Southeast Asia. As time progressed, there was an apparent national guilt about making the common service member be the scapegoat for a war they did not cause, did not understand, but were willing to commit to support as a member of the U.S. armed forces.

What was society’s new response to American servicemen? To try to make amends for past insults by thanking veterans and service members for signing a blank check to give, if needed, their lives, their bodies, and their healthy minds to serve in the armed forces. Didn’t matter if they served in combat, stateside support missions or in a multitude of small wars. Today’s veterans receive a different and justified response from society.

As one who had eggs thrown at him while doing recruiting duty during the Vietnam War, the change in society’s view of servicemen was, and sometimes still is, hard to comprehend. As one whose mother was told at work that her son was a baby killer and they hoped I died, I could not grasp why her fellow newspaper reporters would take it out on her for my standing up for my country and doing what I thought was the right thing. At 96 years old, she still has mental scars from those verbal assaults.

“Thank you for your service.” How do you respond to that? I understand it is an attempt to say the right thing, to atone for past behavior, but is it appropriate?

I, for one, appreciate the gesture, the offers of special discounts for veterans, for recognition, as a way to make up for facing the crowds on college campus as draft-deferred students ruined my uniforms with their more than vocal assaults at a different time when military service was not appreciated.

“Thank you for your service.” I always smile and say, “thank you.”

At one point in my life, I wrote the nation a blank check. There was, and is, no expiration date on that check. Millions of young men and women have written that check.

Our nation needs to have the ability to cash those checks when necessary.

Thank you for appreciating my service.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » From hit by eggs to ‘Thank you for your service’

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Vara bringing a taste of Spain with its Tinto ...
ABQnews Seeker
The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial ... The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial focuses on Spanish influences from the Catalonia region.
Singer-songwriter Logan Ledger to open for Vincent Neil Emerson
ABQnews Seeker
Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" ... Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" is due out on Sept. 8, but he's hitting the road opening for Vincent Neil Emerson.
Documentary looks at the crucial role libraries play in ...
ABQnews Seeker
"Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" ... "Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, on New Mexico PBS.
Lobo Mazza-Downie runs to All-America status at NCAA Championship ...
ABQnews Seeker
University of New Mexico runner Amelia ... University of New Mexico runner Amelia Mazza-Downie finished fourth on Thursday night in the women's 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field ...
Do-it-all Montes reaching a new level as Isotope hitter
ABQnews Seeker
Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in ... Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in Spanish. In 2023 minor league baseball terms, with Isotope Coco Montes it's synonymous with raking.
Socorro businesses, locals brace for Bandidos funeral
From the newspaper
Town's liquor establishments are expected to ... Town's liquor establishments are expected to be closed and law enforcement is on heightened alert ahead of weekend funeral for biker who died in ...
Editorial: CYFD must learn from tragic failures, re-evaluate policies
From the Editorial Board: The governor ... From the Editorial Board: The governor and CYFD need to examine the child welfare agency's policies regarding drug use in the home, tracking abuse, ...
Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance, CBRE highlight metro area’s diverse ...
ABQnews Seeker
"This report, updated annually, has become ... "This report, updated annually, has become one of our top economic development publications used to articulate our value proposition and market the region to ...
These six laws in New Mexico are being targeted ...
ABQnews Seeker
A push to repeal laws passed ... A push to repeal laws passed this year on abortion, elections and gender-affirming care is encountering legal hurdles. But leaders of a coalition seeking ...