VIETNAM VETS

For those returning, an uneasy welcome

 

I think most guys returning from Vietnam would have gone ballistic on someone spitting upon or even at them ("The myth of the spat-upon war veteran," David Sirota, June 8). The hippies didn't bother me; it was my own kind that ticked me off. I used to push wheelchairs to the Mayo Clinic before going into the Army.

I was standing on the corner of the world-famous medical center in my Class A uniform when some guys yelled at me that it was a disgrace to be wearing it. I also got crap from my fellow orderlies when I returned to work.

They had all been drafted and sent to Vietnam, but they would pretend they didn't know anything about the service and would ask me how many babies I killed.

And the janitor, whose son was killed in Vietnam -- we were friends before, but he hated my guts, because I had lived. And there were memories such as going to the VFW with my dad, a World War II marine, and feeling the scorn of the other WWII vets for some unexplained reason.

I'm sorry, but Mr. Obama doesn't know about Vietnam or its veterans, or he wouldn't be sending men and women to their deaths in some armpit of the world.

TIM CONNELLY, Richfield

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Sirota talks of myths. I think his windy talk and all of his sources are myths. I don't believe him. I'm no fan of President Obama, but I give him credit for at least mentioning the way we Vietnam vets were often treated by some ungrateful Americans.

Freedom of speech is one thing, but siding with the enemy is something else. And I honestly believe that even though the politicians lost the Vietnam War, leading to the deaths of millions in Vietnam and Cambodia, I don't think America lives were lost in vain.

America helped stem the tide of communism in southeast Asia and in the rest of the world. For that, we should all be thankful -- even Mr. Sirota.

TOM R. KOVACH, NEVIS, MINN.

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As someone who opposed the Vietnam War, the commentary about the "myth of the spat-upon war veteran" caught my eye. While such behavior perhaps did occur in isolated instances, it has always been hard for me to imagine. I would have found it abhorrent. (And I believe virtually every other antiwar person I ever knew would have as well.)

But I'm writing because of Sirota's gross misrepresentation of what President Obama actually said in his Memorial Day speech.

After providing evidence to debunk the widely repeated claims of such spitting, Sirota asks, "why would the current president nonetheless repeat the apocryphal myth about spat-upon Vietnam veterans? Because -- facts be damned -- it serves a purpose: to suppress protest and perpetuate the ideology of militarism."

Well, facts be damned indeed, because the president repeated no such thing in his speech and said not one word about spitting. He did say, "Let's resolve that in our democracy we can debate and disagree -- even in time of war. But let us never use patriotism as a political sword. Patriots can support a war; patriots can oppose a war."

JOHN FROST, ST. PAUL

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RIGHTS OF WOMEN

The true messages of politicians and bishops

 

Politicians spin, twist and sometimes just plain lie. It's just the nature of the beast. The only real measuring stick of what they truly believe is how they vote on proposed legislation.

Last week, every single Republican in both the U.S. House and Senate voted "no" on the Equal Pay for Women Bill. It was a unified, in-your-face, across-the-board rejection by the GOP.

Some of them may blah-blah their way with excuses like how the legislation would have hurt the economy or how it's evil government intrusion. Most hope you will just forget.

But I hope in November, women will remember what those in the ruling Republican elite really DO believe, as proven with their votes: Women are worth less.

MIKE BUTLER, EAST GRAND FORKS, MINN.

• • •

The June 9 Letter of the Day stated that "once freedom of religion is denied to one group, the liberty of everyone is at stake." I could not agree more, which is why I firmly believe the Catholic bishops are in the wrong regarding insurance coverage for birth control. They are not asking for freedom to follow their own consciences; they are demanding the right to prevent others -- non-Catholic employees -- from following theirs. Catholic employees will remain free to eschew contraceptives if they choose, but freedom of religion does not give bishops the right to deny basic and necessary health care from non-Catholics even when those non-Catholics work for a hospital or school affiliated with the Catholic church.

JOYCE DENN, WOODBURY

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PUNS IN HEADLINES

One reader's pain is another's pleasure

 

I hope I don't pour more fuel on a recent letter writer's opinion of the Star Tribune's use of pun headlines. I remember reading the headlines he cited as "unbearable" and thinking how refreshingly clever they were. Actually, they were funtastic ... oops, sorry.

TWYLA RING, NORTH BRANCH