Stars and Stripes Forever
48 years ago at the young age of 19, Joseph Rondinone enlisted in the United States Army and would serve in the Vietnam War for one year of his life. This decision was one that his father had made in the 1940s during WWII, and one his stepson would make just one year ago in joining ROTC at the University of Mississippi.
As the first war to receive great coverage in the press, Vietnam generated a large population of unsupportive Americans.
“This was the first war that people watched on TV, if you had a TV. People had a chance to see what was going on for once. But they didn’t like it, they didn’t like the fighting. Or they didn’t understand it.” Rondinone told.
These ideas, while in their nature good, were extremely hurtful to the returning veterans who had just sacrificed their lives for their country and were under the assumption that they were grateful for it.
“Coming home to people who hated you for what you did was unbelievable. It was like having the rug pulled out from your feet.” Rondinone shared.
During the past 48 years, Rondinone has seen many a Veterans Day. Celebrated with parades and television specials, he sees the effort people put into remembering the true meaning behind the holiday, but he questions if individuals really understand the importance of it.
Today, Rondinone notes that Veteran’s Day has slowly become more popular because it gives people a day off from work or school and less for honoring the men and women who have fought to protect our country. He cannot help but be reminded of the days where he did not feel his country supported him as a soldier. In his home with his family, Rondinone celebrates this day with a dinner of his choosing and a small cake, usually his favorite, chocolate with chocolate icing. Although it is small, at least it is something.
“It’s nice to sit down and just have a moment to remember what this day is all about.” Rondinone said with a smile.
The most important thing about Veteran’s Day to Rondinone is remembering the friends and fellow soldiers he fought beside for our country. There are so many men and women whose lives have been changed forever because of their service and it is extremely important that we honor their sacrifice. With the issues that veterans face in their assimilation back into our society and also with the disappointing difficulty there is with receiving aid from the government, sometimes a thank you, handshake, or just a small chocolate cake with chocolate icing is best way to let them know that their service is appreciated greatly.