Lt. John O'Brien of Delta 1/27-1968
A Response to the James Web Article
Boy, that speech you sent me by Jim Webb has sparked a lot of thoughts. If you try to put it into context with today, one is awed by the differences and similarities. The similarities are the dissension across the country and the world against war while at the same time fighting against the atrocities of a vicious regime. The most startling difference is leadership and resolve at the top of this country.
The Vets of RVN were sold out by political expediency and emerging public opinion. Families who lived through WWII did not want to feel that pain and fear again. A strong leader helps people get over that pain and rise to the occasion. I don't know if Kennedy would have made a difference had he survived, but clearly the political leaders that followed were not willing to stand out in front and take that chance. You and I fought in Vietnam because we knew it was right. We felt we could make a difference by maintaining peace. We paid the price both on the battlefield and as we came home.
But today we are fulfilling the fruits of our labor. Finally we have a political leader who is willing to stand out in front and calm our fears. We have a military leadership that has developed weapons to reduce casualties and refuses to put soldiers and Marines in harms way unnecessarily. I believe that this is possible because we, the Vets of RVN, never gave up and have emerged through society to make this country even stronger.
Not many in the Media have experienced war as a soldier. They are not aware of the bonds that form among Marines because the training among Marines is universal. They will never know the fear of battle and the exhilaration of surviving together. They will never know the sorrow a Marine feels when another Marine whom he has known even only for a short time is killed. They will never understand the pride of being a Marine.
If we hadn't done what we did so many years ago, the current situation wouldn't have happened. There probably be more bombings and attacks on our soil. The country has finally come to a resolve and has shone through its true colors. I am proud of what we did. And I'm very proud of my Marines!
PS: I had dinner with Tom Von Essen, the Fire Commissioner of NYC during 9/11. We talked about how the words "hero" and "bravery" have become sports cliches in recent years. I told him that the only words I could use for his Firefighters who did their job that day was that "they acted like Marines." He was very moved.