“Welcome home and thank you for your service.”

The public’s anger at our government for pursuing an unpopular war was often directed at the service members who believed they were doing the right thing by serving their country. They were blamed, and unfortunately felt shame for the mistakes made by those in authority.

On the 11th day of November every year, we in the United States pause to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces. We call it Veterans Day. March 29 has been set aside as a day to recognize those veterans who served during the United States mission to VietNam.

Military veterans today are held in high regard, and receive public and private recognition in many ways. This was not the case 40-50 years ago, when Vietnam veterans like my husband were not respected or appreciated.

The public’s anger at our government for pursuing an unpopular war was often directed at the service members who believed they were doing the right thing by serving their country. They were blamed, and unfortunately felt shame for the mistakes made by those in authority.

When called upon, they served their country but their country did not serve them well. Perhaps saddest of all, they received little if any welcome when they came home.

Vietnam veterans statue in Washington, D.D.

A national monument honoring Vietnam veterans now stands in Washington, D.C., as well as memorials elsewhere, like the one in Angel Fire New Mexico. There is a travelling “Wall” , a replica of the one in the nation’s capital.

a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with an American flag and a wreath of red, white, and blue flowers
a travelling replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. visits towns throughout the United States

My husband has caps and shirts identifying him as a veteran; when he wears them in public, people will come to him and thank him for serving. Sometimes they will ask about his service experience, especially if they are also a veteran. Fellow veterans always offer a hand, saying “Welcome home.”

A ceremony honoring a fallen soldier at the Vietnam veterans memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico

We meet relatives of service members who eagerly share their loved one’s story. Sometimes, it is a story of one who did not come home. These stories are often heart wrenching and we walk away choked up and silent.

To all of you who do or have served in the military, and to your loved ones-

“Welcome home and thank you for your service. We can never repay our debt to you. “

My husband, Raymond Oglesby wrote a personal account of his military experience, here is an excerpt-

” I didn’t want to ever go to Vietnam again when I came home in 1972 after a one-year tour of duty with the United States Army. I was stationed with the Americal Division, 3/18 Field Artillery Battalion near Tra Bong, a major village located about 25 miles west of Chu Lai, the headquarters of the Americal Division, on “China Beach” at the South China Sea.

When I came home, I did not talk about my involvement in the Vietnam War for over fifteen years. I only told two or three people what really happened. I thought only  another Vietnam vet could understand. “

Continue reading at-

From Bullets to Blessings-One man’s journey to recovery from war

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

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                              Dr. Aletha 

Memorial Day-why I went to  Angel Fire to see a brick

The United States celebrates Memorial Day  on the last Monday of  May, a day set aside to remember people who died while serving  in the armed forces, although many families  use it to remember other deceased loved ones also.  Memorial Day 2014 was special and unique for me and my husband.

We had planned a trip to New Mexico, not realizing we would be there on Memorial Day. I was going to attend a medical conference and we also wanted to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire. The previous year, I ordered a memorial brick ,engraved with his name, to be laid on the walkway there. Our schedule was such that the most convenient day to visit would be Memorial Day. We didn’t know that the Memorial has a special observance there every Memorial Day; but when we found out, we planned to attend. Here, in pictures,  is what we experienced that day .

on the memorial grounds, the chapel in the background
on the memorial grounds, the chapel in the background

In the background, I am kneeling to view Raymond's brick
In the background, I am kneeling to view Raymond’s brick

inside the chapel, which is never locked; it is open for anyone to enter at any time
inside the chapel, which is never locked; it is open for anyone to enter at any time

presenting a flag and plaque to the family of a fallen soldier
presenting a flag and plaque to the family of a fallen soldier

music by a local military reserve unit
music by a local military reserve unit

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire, New Mexico

Raymond Oglesby with his brick
Raymond Oglesby with his brick

Raymond with the late Dr. Westphal, who founded the memorial in honor of his son who died in Vietnam (an old photo)
Raymond with the late Dr. Westphall, who founded the memorial in honor of his son David who died in Vietnam
(an old photo)