For John, BLUF: A day to mourn. Nothing to see here; just move along.
As the line used to be, "There are eight million stories in the naked city."
Veterans are individuals and their families are individuals and how this or that war impacted them varies.
Southeast Asia is my war. Two tours, one at Da Nang Ai Base, Viet-nam, and one at Korat Air Base, Thailand. I know fellow veterans from the Iraq War, Afghanistan, Korea and World War II. But, they are the living. This day is about those who didn't survive their war.
Just as the West Point Class of 1966 bore the brunt of the Viet-nam Conflict, my Air Force Academy Class of 1964 had the most Killed in Action (KIA) and Prisoners of War (POW). I know of one classmate who was discharged after a mental breakdown (would we call it, today, PTSD) after too many combat missions.
My wife's first husband, lost in a peacetime training accident, was in the place and time because his unit was on Okinawa, replacing another squadron that had deployed to Southeast Asia for a mission that was never realized.
It is all pain.
But, here in Lowell, the pain continues not just for those who went to war, but also for those of our fellow residents, our fellow American Citizens, who were civilians on the ground in Cambodia and Laos and Viet-nam. They too suffered and lost relatives and had family relationships broken apart. And who still suffer from the outcomes of the war.
Today is a day to give everyone some consideration, since everyone gave something and some gave all.
Regards — Cliff