I hope everyone will have a happy and safe 4th of July.
Our national convention was just a few weeks ago, and Ken Dull, a friend of ours, attended and later wrote about it on his Facebook page. After reading through his comments, I asked if I could use what he wrote in my blog. Ken graciously said yes, it was OK for us to use it.
Thank you, Ken, for letting us share your feelings about our convention.
Here’s what Ken had to say:
I had the pleasure of attending the Viet Now convention recently as their guest. I am not a veteran but they welcomed me (literally) with open arms. You couldn’t meet a nicer group of people. It was a true privilege to listen to their stories, meet the veterans, their wives, the Gold Star Mothers, and the Gold Star wife / brother / children of those who didn’t make it home.
Prayers and invocation were offered by Reverend John Steer, who may have lost an arm in Viet Nam, but certainly didn’t lose his sense of humor. Nor did he lose his faith, his positive attitude, or his dedication to his country, and his brothers in arms. John was kind enough to sign a copy of his book “Wounded Soldier” for me. I spent most the weekend trying hard to swallow the big lump in my throat and keep my eyes from tearing…too much.
A Gulf War veteran recounted the story of when she…yes SHE, was wounded on the battle field and her extensive recovery process. A Gold Star wife shared the story of her courtship with her husband, his enlistment, how they were married for just two months before he was sent to Viet Nam. And, even though doctors had told them she could never get pregnant without an operation, their daughter was born two months after their soldier was killed in action.
The evening ended with Reverend John leading us all in a hearty rendition of “God Bless America”. Without any direction, every person in the room stood up, formed a huge circle, held hands, and sang along in loud voices (I still get goose bumps thinking about it). I have always been appreciative to all veterans and try to mention that when I meet them, even in passing. But I can’t express how very humbling it was for me to be in the room with these people who gave so much, endured so much, lost so much, or worried so much for the safety their loved ones.
Again I can only say, “Thank you veterans”. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you also, to the veteran’s families who endured the loneliness and emotional stress of having a loved one in harm’s way. This American is grateful.