Vietnam veterans deserve our appreciation

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM.

As a young woman approached him, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

I walked along the wall, reading some of the names engraved into the wall, periodically stopping to thank other vets for their service and to welcome them home. A letter, laminated and placed at the foot of the wall, caught my eye. It was written to Steven H. Adams, an airman who went missing in action, from an Iowa native. The writer explained how he wears Adams’ name on his MIA bracelet even though they had never met.

As I knelt beside the wall and read this letter, I was instantly taken back to the stage, to opening night. I remember how, following the show, several veterans in the audience came and addressed the cast concerning our performance.

I took that opportunity to ask one man, whom I had seen walking out earlier in the night, why he had left. As his smile slowly faded he said, "The opening scene triggered a flashback of things people asked and said to me when I returned from the war. Also of the first day of boot camp when I met my best friend, and it reminded me that he never came home."

For those who returned from the war, it was a flight home only to be ridiculed and hated by the country they loved and were willing to die for.

For me, this war was defined by the heartache felt when these men and women returned home. It was the pain and sorrow for those lost. But the most important thing is remembering and honoring those who never came home and thanking those who did.

Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom is a Cherry Point Marine who works in the base’s Public Affairs Office. He can be reached at 466-6131 or by email at  

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