Skating in America


Erick W. Miller

There were many ways to get a deferment from the selective service draft during the Vietnam years. All were despicable no matter what excuse was used. Stopping Communism was not just the job of the handful of brave men who left their families and set aside careers and education to do what needed to be done.

The draft dodgers and protesters found comfort and solace in their multitudinous ranks. For a matter of record, they outnumbered those of us who served nine to one. That numerical superiority gave them much too loud of a voice upon our return. That voice was never raised in welcome. Rather it was raised in scorn and often joined by the WWII generation including the veterans of that war.

The rejection was so painful that it silenced many of us while driving others to drug and alcohol abuse and too often suicide. As an infantry veteran of Vietnam who has had over thirty years to contemplate this situation, I have come to some conclusions. I think many of the WWII veterans were looking for someone to blame for allowing the partition of Germany, leaving the next enemy of many years with enough power to intimidate the West. The draft evaders needed to keep up the undeserved rejection to mask their own cowardice. If we are ever accepted as the heroes that we are, the suicides, alcoholism, and drug abuse would show up in their ranks. This is not to say that I am not grateful for the service of those men who served in WWII. I just wish they would have shown some gratitude to us when we came home. I heartily thank the vets of that war along with all the Hard Hats who demonstrated in our support.

Korean vets remained silent, dealing with their own rejection. Their monumental sacrifice was swept under the rug as was ours during Vietnam. They have my sympathy and understanding.

These are my true feelings. Many of you will say that I’m being mean spirited for writing these words. I would be a coward not to. I have a right called freedom of speech which I defended vigorously for all Americans. I was very much afraid when defending that right. A healthy man who will not serve his country should not be eligible for public office.

The greatest insult of all was the re-election of Bill Clinton to another term. Liberals got their reward for that in the form of a greatly weakened military and loss of credibility throughout the world. His message was that America was for sale. We owe that grave mistake to the nine to one ratio that was mentioned earlier. It makes me wonder who our brave troops are defending today. God Bless our fine young men and women in uniform.

Erick W. Miller Copyright 1997 & 2003