• Today's Daily Devotion
We Hurt Ourselves
AS JULIE WEAVER listened to the news and the antiwar rhetoric about the Vietnam War, she went along with it and gradually “turned against the war.” When her brother came ...

We Hurt Ourselves

Many years later her attitude began to change when she saw a photograph depicting the anguished face of a veteran at the Vietnam Memorial. She began to realize she had never considered the price paid by the men who fought. To atone, she wrote a moving open letter to all veterans, excerpted below:

Dear Hero:

Have you been to Vietnam? If so, I have something I want to say to you—Thank you for going! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please forgive me for my insensitivity. I don’t know how I could have been so blind, but I was. When I woke up, you were wounded and the damage was done, and I don’t know how to fix it. I will never stop regretting my actions, and I will never let it happen again.

Inside of you there is a pain that will never completely go away . . . and you know what? It’s inside of us, too; because when we let you down, we hurt ourselves too. We all know it . . . and we suffer guilt and we don’t know what to do . . . so we cheer for our troops and write letters to “any soldier” and we hang out the yellow ribbons and fly the flag and we love America. We love you too, even if it doesn’t feel like it to you.

Please say you will forgive us and please take your rightful place as heroes of our country.

This letter has been posted on many veterans’ Web sites and has generated many positive responses. My own response is one of appreciation. Thank you, Julie, for taking such a risk, and, for what it’s worth, I add my forgiveness to that of many others. In actuality, we fought for your right to form and express your own opinion and for the right of others to express theirs.

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