Silent Forgiveness

We honored and attempted to fulfill our treaty and moral obligation: preserve the rights and freedoms of the Vietnamese people.  We came home to harsh condemnation and disapproval by war protestors.  

Even then, I forgave them for their baseless hate.  
Even then, I forgave them for substituting their souls with a mob mentality.  Even then, I forgave them the hypocrisy of their violent street riots, hate, vandalism, terrorism, and campus violence. 
Even then, I forgave them for seeing only my uniform, not the inner man.
Even then, I forgave them for calling me “babykiller” and spitting on me. 
Even then, I forgave them for failing to see the man of peace, tolerance, and compassion within. 

Even then, I understood the sources of na├»ve, misguided and uninformed views among some, and valid outrage among others. 
Even then, I respected their dissent, their personal opposition to war, or their dread of combat. 

Even now, I remain proud to have assisted the Vietnamese people. 
Even now, I would defend to my death humanity’s most-cherished ideals: human rights, freedoms, and liberty.

-William Walsh    2013