I just wanted to express my sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to participate in Honor Flight last Saturday.
Speaking for myself, this event went a long way in addressing a number of issues I have had for the last several decades relative to my service in Vietnam.
Beginning first with the process organized by the Rotary — by which I was one of those selected and ending with a magnificent homecoming at the Dayton airport — the kindness, understanding and appreciation shown by the citizens of Clinton County throughout the event were overwhelming and to me represented the true meaning of patriotism at its finest.
I think it is fair to say that few if any Vietnam vets have ever sought a “thank you” for simply doing our job out of love of country and devotion to the duty we were tasked to carry out. But the letters written to me (and others) by the students participating in Honor Flight and distributed to us during “mail call” on the way back to Dayton were particularly meaningful to me.
I felt that I was being thanked on a personal level by people who I didn’t even know for something that happened decades ago and that they can only read about … amazing. I have never received anything remotely close to the supportive comments in those letters, and in my opinion, each letter proved to me that those who did not show the Vietnam-era vets the respect that they deserved got it all wrong.
One of my many missions in going on Honor Flight was to make sure that I got pencil tracings from the Vietnam Wall of the names of individuals that I personally knew who never came back. I was able to do that for all six of these individuals, including a pilot shot down in 1968 who was never found, as well as a fellow officer who was awarded the Medal Of Honor posthumously.
These soldiers were the true heroes of the Vietnam War, as they gave their lives for all of us but never had the opportunity to live out their lives with the ones they knew and loved.
I thought that the time would never come, at least in my lifetime, that particularly those of us caught up in the Vietnam War would ever be “welcomed home.” But I was proven wrong this past weekend by citizens of all ages of Clinton County.
I now feel that, regardless of what happens to me in the future, my efforts, and all those of my fellow Vietnam vets to protect this country, are appreciated, and we will never be forgotten.
Thank you again to all residents of Clinton County and especially to the Wilmington Rotary Clubs, the VFW, American Legion, the first responders, the VSO, the guardians, and the many students and other citizens who helped in making this one of the most special events of my life.
Robert H. Scott