Fayetteville, North Carolina is a thriving community directly outside the gates of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the famous 82nd Airborne for quite some time and amongst the largest of US Army bases in the country. Hundreds of thousands of Army Soldiers have trained there and been stationed there since it was created in 1918.
That the city of Fayetteville is dependent upon Ft. Bragg today is an understatement.
During the turmoil of the Viet Nam War, it was also the scene of several anti-Vietnam protests targeting soldiers, encouraging them to desert and trying to convince them how wrong they were to answer the draft, as many had or enlist to fight in Viet Nam. Due to much public sentiment against soldiers in the era, while I was stationed at Ft. Bragg the city was referred to as “Fayettenam.”
That is why I was absolutely stunned, livid and speechless for a few moments after reading about what seems like a well-intentioned Heroes Homecoming by the City of Fayetteville in November 2011 was to include Quaker House as part of the 10 day “Homecoming” to “honor Viet Nam Veterans.”
Mayor Tony Chavonne, a Democrat who never served in any branch of the Military and was first elected mayor in 2005 says of the decision to ask the anti-Vietnam group be included, “Fayetteville's 10-day tribute to Vietnam veterans this fall should portray a complete picture of the era and its impact on the city - including opposition to the war,” adding, “It is an important part of the story we're trying to tell.”
Chuck Fager, director of the Quaker House who proposed showing two anti-war films of the era, “Coming Home” and “FTA” said of the era, “We’re part of that story.”
Yes, a part that continues to fester in open wounds to many Viet Nam Veterans falsely accused of daily war crimes, murder, and other monstrous lies. A part that any sane person with half an ounce of decency would be ashamed of today.
Chavonne adds, “Heroes Homecoming is meant to give Vietnam War Veterans ‘the homecoming that they never received’.”
What obviously escapes this dolt of a mayor is what he proposes to do IS exactly the homecoming we received back then. Will he have them assemble to begin the spitting again? Yes, even though those responsible back then today call us liars for saying it happened and it was never documented, they are wrong as these news articles show. And yes, there are more where these came from.
Has the public ever been treated to another viewpoint of Viet Nam other than that written by the anti-war crowd that forced the hand of the government to abandon a struggling ally? Has the country ever given an open ear to those of us who served there, lost buddies there and saw first-hand that the anti-war crowd was dead wrong?
They won’t even admit their ill-treatment of returning Veterans, some actually claiming it was the returning “damaged” Veterans attacking them! Even failed 2004 presidential candidate, John ‘F’in Kerry, a sweetheart of the anti-Vietnam War crowd them said to the Fulbright Commission in his infamous “testimony” given in 1971, “The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence…” forever tainting the 2.6 Million of us who served there as “monsters.”
Melissa Rivera, leading the public relations for “Heroes Homecoming” says, “This is a national event. This has potential to be huge.”
It might have, Melissa. Bringing up the old wounds and allowing your mayor to rub our noses in the discontent taken out on us years ago isn’t exactly what I felt was in mind during the initial planning, but it is what it appears to have become.
That “potential to be huge” could turn out to a big bust should other aging and current anti-war cretins decide they will be present to protest the current war, Troops or even us aging Veterans.
You have a huge potential problem on your hands if you can’t knock some sense into your mayor’s head.
I, for one, have no plans to return to Fayetteville for this event. As long as it will include giving another platform to those who gave such dishonor to returning Veterans, I hope other Viet Nam Veterans boycott it as well.
Sorry Fayetteville, but you do us no honor by rubbing our noses into old wounds that you do not allow to heal.
See also Maggie's Notebook: Mayor Tony Chavonne Throws Vietnam Vet Heroes a Homecoming: Welcomes Hanoi Jane Fonda