Our Nam Vets went to war for our country - many were drafted - the rest went out of a sense of duty. Most went through a living-hell that the rest of us will never have to go through even in our wildest dreams. They went through all of this ... and couldn't even get the one thing all previous and future war vets take for granted.. a collective "Welcome home" Two words.. two easy to say words - but cause *we* disagreed with the choices of our government our son's, husbands, and best friends didn't get that - instead they got spit upon - after going through more then most of us could ever imagine.

'Welcome home' is an expression used by Vietnam veteran's to one another. It's meaning very profound and perhaps beyond the scope of this node.

But since I've yet to find an official explanation of this - I will humbly attempt to explain - based on my own limited knowledge of this intense and important phrase.

'Welcome Home', is a very special bonding, brotherhood saying used frequently and understood by our Vietnam vets. You would be hard pressed to find a TV show, Website, our gathering involving Vietnam Vets without hearing that phrase numerous times. And that is because it has significance and a very special meaning to them all.

Imagine for a moment an 18 year old you care about - your son, grandson, nephew, your best friends son or your own best friend - getting drafted and going off to war. Dealing with things you can only hope to never experience, and then coming home to hate, jeers and people spitting upon them. That is what our Nam vets (after the first few years of the war), most just a few years beyond childhood when they left, came home to.

Defense Secretary Weinberger spoke of this at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial dedication:

"When your country called, you came. When your country refused you honor, you remained silent. With time, our nations wounds have healed. We have finally come to appreciate your sacrifices and to pay you the tribute you so richly deserve"
The war's unpopularity and the political atmosphere at the time was transferred to the veterans. Most did not get a welcome home... but in time they started to use the saying "Welcome home" amongst each other.

It may perhaps bring a momentary hurt or anger of remembering the lack of welcome home's received when they returned - but it also reminds them that they share a special bond with each other in this experience.

The rejection experienced upon returning home from war is often refered to as the veteran's 2nd battle. There is nothing that we can ever do to take away the hurt and pain we as a society caused these heroes - but saying "Welcome Home," if said from the heart, will often mean a great deal.

It's never to late to Welcome Home a Nam vet, and it will touch them to hear it if it's said from the heart.

To any Nam Vet's reading this node:
Thank you, and Welcome home,

I would be honored to have a Nam vet explain "Welcome home" in their own terms. I've offered this up here until one might wish to do so for us.

To ad a little depth to the meaning of "Welcome Home", here is an excerpt from an autobiography of a Vietnam Veteran's experience.

"When Can We Come Home? Understanding the Viet Nam Vet" by Harry Kieninger (1999)
{Ordering info: Harry Kieninger, P.O. Box 42002 Indpls., Ind. 46242. Price $8.00}

When veterans of World War I and World War II came home after serving their country overseas, they received a hero's welcome. There were parades down Main Street, USA, banners waving, balloons flying, cheers, speeches, and celebrations....

In contrast, let me relate my experience when l returned home from Viet Nam. I arrived at Weir Cook International Airport, (now Indianapolis International Airport) one cool October day in 1968. No one was there to meet and greet me. I called a cab to take me to my home on McDougal Street. As I settled back for the ride, I said to the driver, "I just got back from South Viet Nam." He turned and looked at me and said, "So what?" Here I sat, just home from the most horrifying experience of my life, and no one cared. A man, whose life was on the line daily for the past eleven months, didn't even rate a "Thank You." I soon realized that my service in Vietnam was not going to get much of a response.

For more insight and understanding of the Nam experience check out the CD "It's Just a Nam Thing" by 1/27 Grunt, and watch for their new release "WELCOME HOME BRO !!"