“Welcome Home” is a new series which tells the story of Vietnam Veterans, from all branches of the service, in their own words. It is scheduled for release in 2015, the 40th anniversary year of the end of the War. It is a thank you — and a welcome home that is long, and overdue.
From August of 1964 — when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave President Lyndon Baines Johnson license to prosecute the Vietnam War using American blood and treasure — until April of 1975, when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, some 2.7 million Americans served in Southeast Asia. Fifty-eight thousand of them never returned. Those that did return found themselves in a country very different from the one that sent them off to war. Vietnam veterans came home to a nation that did not wholly comprehend where they had been or why, nor what they had seen and done.
But, there, “in country”, as they say, they found something else: The brotherhood. That was one thing on which they soon learned they could bet their lives: The sacred bond Vietnam Veterans had with each other. It is a bond that never has been, and never will be, broken. So, when they returned home to a nation that was, at best indifferent, and at worst, contemptuous of them, they relied on that bond. Vietnam Veterans adopted the heart-rending custom of greeting each other with a simple, “Welcome Home”. It is a custom they practice to this day.