Town should have notified veterans groups

Many Vietnam veterans still feel the sting of having been blamed for an unpopular war. By the time the war ended in 1975, it had been the longest and most expensive war in American history.

Of course, neither of those facts had anything to do with those of us who were in the armed services at the time. One way that we have informally compensated has been to greet each other with a hearty “welcome home” whenever we meet.

On March 25, the Jackson Township Council meeting agenda listed a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” proclamation under Presentations. It was Vietnam Veterans Day in Jackson? Who knew?

While this “proclamation” may have been well-intentioned, it was, by all accounts, announced to a room empty of any Vietnam veterans with the exception of Councilman Ken Bressi, who is a U.S. Marine Vietnam veteran.

My thinking here is that if the mayor and council intended to compensate for the way many of us felt about never having been properly welcomed home, perhaps they might have announced Jackson’s official “welcome home” before the March 25 meeting. It would have cost nothing but a bit of advanced planning.

Also on the council’s agenda on March 25 were commendations to the Jackson School District’s teachers of the year, and those teachers were present. The Aspen and Arbor tree service companies sent representatives to receive commendations for their work in town after superstorm Sandy.

Since nearly 40 years have elapsed since the end of the Vietnam war, none of us really expects parades or fireworks or standing ovations, but a sincere public gesture most certainly should have included the reading of such a proclamation to a room full of veterans and not to an empty chamber.

John Calimano