Those who read this column have followed me back to war times in our history. Times that some of us have experienced or whose families have experienced ... times with outcomes that still affect our lives.
Let's stop, at this point, and draw a parallel with our country's past and present military involvements.
The signing of the Vietnam Peace Accords in Paris in 1975 signaled the end of a conflict which, in every way, American involvement is superfluous (except in consideration of the 50,000 Americans we left behind). And, what about those who did what their country asked of them, and made it home alive?
I was amongst that group and can tell you of a personal experience, at that time.
My squadron made its last return from Southeast Asia and were preparing to leave our base in California when our commanding officer assembled his men for a bit of well-intended advice.
"It might go easier for you if you didn't wear your uniforms," he warned. "Not everyone here at home approves of what we've done."
Not exactly a welcome home parade, but when you think about it, we hadn't won and we never really declared war.
Beginning to sound familiar?
If you can conceive that "what is past is prologue," think about this:
For more than a half century, we still have American military in Korea and in Vietnam -- for no better reasons than having gone there in the first place.
The only consistency that I can see is that the people in the Middle East think about Americans in the same way as those in Southeast Asia do. I don't know about you, but I can remember when America was the most respected nation on earth.
Grandpa sez', "I'm sure gettin' tired of apologizing for being American."