A military dad got the homecoming he always deserved this week. A homecoming that he deserved 45 years ago, that is. But hey, who's counting? Not Vietnam veteran Dana Christ.
Back in 1969, Christ did not get one of the ebullient military homecomings that are part of the American fabric these days. There were no TV cameras waiting to capture a magical moment.
He came home from war in a shameful time in American history, when people allowed their distaste for war to overshadow the importance of supporting the troops. But if the homecoming thrown for Christ, a Marine from the Pennsylvania area, this month proves anything, it's that it's never too late to make up for it.
It's been 38 years since the Vietnam War ended, more since members of a military who went off to perform their duty began coming to home to silence .... or worse.
But many -- if not most -- of these men and women are still alive. They're watching the beautiful reunions like the father and daughter who made me tear up just this morning.
They know what they're missing.
But they don't have to be. We can do better for them.
Dana Christ's family worked with Warriors’ Watch Riders, a group of veterans and veteran supporters, to throw the homecoming the father and grandfather should have gotten 45 years ago. They made him think he was taking his grandkids to a kids' birthday party and instead surprised the Marine with an honor guard of motorcycle bikers and a sea of fellow military veterans holding flags. They showed that his service to country hasn't been forgotten.
Now it's our turn to do the same for the rest of the Vietnam veterans out there.
It's never too late.
Is there a Vietnam vet in your life? What was their return home like?
Image by Jeanne Sager