Another year has passed and here we are in San Diego on Veteran’s Day. We have really never done anything special on this holiday before but Veteran’s Day 2016 was going to be different. I was reading about happenings in San Diego and came across a news story about the Midway Aircraft Carrier. It was first commissioned in 1945 and sailed the seas for 46 years before being decommissioned in 1992 after Desert Storm.
On Veteran’s Day, Veterans and their families were invited to tour the Midway free! Having not toured this ship before we decided we should check it out. As I have mentioned before we aren’t museum buffs but this was to be a bit different being on an actual ship. Besides it is always pleasant walking along the San Diego Harbor.
We found some free street parking about a 1/4 mile from the Midway and set out for the short stroll along the waterfront to it. Along the way the a Princess Cruise Ship was docked and readying to take hoards of people across the sea on a fun filled vacation. We often took cruises before retiring and smiled as we thought about the working stiffs boarding the ship for a week or more of forgetting about work and relaxing in ways one can only do on a cruise liner.
We found the line at the USS Midway for veterans and walked up the stairs to the top . It is quite an impressive ship and even with the moderate crowds onboard we never felt crowded due to its massive size. At 958 feet in length this ship would have over 4,000 crew members aboard so I guess it would take quite a crowd to make it feel crowded.
There were lots of planes on display and history unfolded before our eyes. This had me reflecting about Veteran’s Day… What started as Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I evolved into Veteran’s Day, a day we honor those who serve and have served militarily for our country. Not all Veterans have been held in as high regard as those today…
During the Vietnam Era those individuals who volunteered and those who were drafted to fight in the very unpopular war were frowned upon and often treated with contempt. Today it isn’t uncommon for people to see a person in uniform and shout “Thanks for your service!” It sure wasn’t always like that. I served in the Air Force during the Vietnam Era and although I never served in Vietnam the mere fact that I was in the military made me feel like a very unpopular person in that day and age.
That longest and most unpopular war in which Americans ever fought was rife with people protesting in the USA. Young men and women returning from Vietnam were vilified One person wrote: “Sadly, those who served in Vietnam were portrayed as baby killers, psychos, drug addicts and warmongers for many years after.“ Most people during that time opposed the Vietnam war and as a result the returning Veterans were simply scapegoats. I recall when I was in the Air Force how we tried hard to blend in when we weren’t in uniform so no one would think we were in the military.
Today, however, those same people are honored as they should have been long ago and today we celebrate all Veterans.. even those that fought in wars we thought should never had been started in the first place. It made me happy when I was walking on the flight deck of the Midway and seeing many of the Vietnam Veterans now proudly donning hats displaying they were Vietnam Vets. No more hiding… no more shame… replaced by a sense of pride as they too are being honored for their service performed in the most unpopular war we have had to date.
The celebration continued as BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery in San Diego honored Vets with Happy Hour Beer Specials and a free meal ($12.75 or less). Thank you BJ’s for rounding out our most enjoyable Veteran’s Day ever!
NOTE: We will be here at Mission Bay RV Park until December 4th.