May 28, 2023
Reflections from the Heart of Allan Redenius
Recently, one of my friends who served in the Navy, went to Washington D.C. on an honor flight. I salute him and all others who served in the U.S. armed forces. To each and every one of you, I say, thank you for your service.
In 1969, right after what was called the Vietnam Tet Offensive, I received my notice to report for an army physical at Fort Des Moines. Pass the physical and off to Vietnam you went. Nobody really wanted to go to war, including me. But as the old saying goes, “duty calls.” I would have willingly served my country. I would not have been a draft dodger or skipped off to Canada to avoid the fight.
As God’s providence would have it, I was involved in a serious car accident two months before my appointed physical. I suffered a back injury that impaired my mobility. So, the army said, “We don’t want you.” That was a day of mixed emotions.
Many of my friends served in Vietnam. Some came home and others did not. Even those who came home suffered not only from PTSD, but physical maladies from agent orange, a widely used herbicide to defoliate the jungle. God bless each one of them.
For years, I felt guilty for not passing my physical. Whenever I shared that feeling with a vet, every one of them said, “Thank God you didn’t have to go.” To each who said that, I thank you for your grace.
To you Vietnam vets who came home to an unappreciative country that offered you spit instead of a hero’s welcome—you are all heroes to me.
I Salute You,
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