Welcome Home

I was at Lowes today buying a dehumidifier for a little stone repair I am in the midst of. It seems that water got behind some Carrera marble and some pinwheel stone flooring and I have to suck it out using a huuuuuuge dehumidifier. So, I park at the Veterans Parking Spaces at Lowes.

I love that Lowes has parking spaces reserved for veterans and provides a 10% Veterans Discount. Well played, Lowes.

I do my business and I get my 10% veterans discount. I return to my vehicle with my $300 dehumidifier.

There are several other cars parked in the spaces. One is a Jeep looking SUV with a Bronze Star on its license plate. I witness a conversation.

The Bronze Star recipient and another gentleman, whose age suggested he was a Vietnam War Era veteran, strike up a conversation. I listen to it as I’m stuffing my enormous humidifier in my truck.

They have a nice chat. If you have never been in the Army, you don’t understand that soldiers when they meet compare where they were and what units they served with. It’s a soldier thing.

The Bronze Star guy had been awarded his medal for valor in Iraq.

As they part, the Iraq veteran approaches the Vietnam veteran, extends his hand, and says, “Welcome home, brother!”

You likely know that Vietnam War veterans came home individually, rather than as units. The Middle East veterans came and went as units.

The American public never really welcomed the Vietnam vets home. So, this gesture — something, again, that soldiers get — was very meaningful.

For just a second, I had a piece of dust in my eye. It cleared quickly.

Welcome home, Vietnam veterans. A grateful nation welcomes you home and honors your sacrifice and service.

In a few weeks, it will be time to put wreaths on the headstones at the Texas Veterans Cemetery outside Fort Hood at the foot of the Hill Country. A lot of them will be Vietnam War veterans. Welcome home!

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway. I’m just a Big Red Car. Welcome home!