F TROOP, 17TH CAVALRY, 196 INF BDE
From Ripley, Tennessee
08 August 1948 - 14 September 1969
Today, Oct 12, 2004, I learned that our country would finally officially welcome home your friends who made it home. It will be on 13-19 June, 2005 and will be in Branson, MO. I will remember you and tell all your friends "Welcome Home". This is so long overdue. I just recently got home from Iraq and myself and the soldiers with me were greeted like heros. We did a lot but not near as much as you guys did. Made me feel guilty the way we were treated when I remembered the way your friends were treated when they got home. For almost 30 years, I've been saying 2 things to every Vietnam Vet I meet and I say it as an American citizen and not as a soldier. I tell them "I'm sorry". Sorry for the way our government and some American citizens treated you. The 2nd thing I tell them is "Thank you"! Thank you for doing such a good job during a terribly difficult situation but you did your duty anyway. Many have cried when I told them. Many have told me I was the first to have said this to them. I've told it to guys that were "street people" and I've even said it to a few generals and even one Medal of Honor recipient. I say it the same to all of them because none of us is more or less important than the other. Finally, our country is doing the right thing by telling all of your buddies, "Welcome Home." I'm sorry it is 30 years late but am most grateful that we are finally doing it. I'll be there with my family and will do my best to ensure that each Vietnam Vet I rub shoulders with sees a good measure of gratitude from me. I will remember you each time I greet one of your buddies, the surviving Vietnam vets. It may surprise you to know that your buddies are the largest and best supporters of the vets of today. They have basically made a vow that "Never Again" would a group of soldiers be treated like they were. What an awesome and totally American thing they are doing with this. So much better than just remaining bitter. May the healing not only begin but may it be complete with this event. May Americans who did not do right towards the Vietnam vets find it necessary to ask for forgiveness from your buddies. May Jane Fonda and others like her have the courage to truly repent to God and ask forgiveness from the vets and the POWs she so wrongly harmed with her behavior and her words. May your buddies grant it. I make it my hobby to tell kids about things that Americans do to keep our nation great and our flag flying. I tell them about the sacrifices of others so they can remain free. I tell them about you.
The database page for Michael Earl Koonce
Memorial first published on 30 Jun 2008
Last updated 07/20/2008