Many of you believe dirty politics is the
motivation of Vietnam veterans speaking out in opposition to
John Kerry. Let me tell you the real motivation.
In the movie "We Were Soldiers," the story
about the battle of the la Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965,
a young sergeant, cried as he died, "Tell my wife
I love her . . ." and my family relived the death of my dad.
He told my mother in letters that he and those he served
with believed they were doing the right thing, fighting to
help a sovereign nation defend its freedom.
Before the movie was filmed, I
heard my father's dying words from retired Lt.
Gen. Hal Moore and journalist Joe Galloway, who were with him in the Valley of
Death. I met Mel Gibson, who played Col. Moore in the movie,
showing him family pictures and letters to help him learn
the essence of these young men serving their country in a
difficult time. Gibson said my father was a true hero.
I remember when the movie was released
witnessing the healing of men and family members who clung
to this story with a new pride after decades of being
vilified. Finally, they talked about it. Finally, many were
proud to be Vietnam veterans.
And then Kerry was nominated as a
I don't blame Kerry for my father's death,
and I don't much care if he shamelessly chased after medals.
But I do care that when he returned from Vietnam he gave aid
and comfort to the enemy while our soldiers were still
dying. I care that he smeared my father and a generation of
our armed forces with false charges of war crimes while
posing himself as a hero. I care that Kerry's false charges
encouraged our enemy who was pressuring our POWs in inhumane
ways to confess to imaginary war crimes. I care that he went
to Paris to meet with the Viet Cong in 1970 while still an
officer in the Navy Reserve, returning to publicly advocate
for their position and against America's position.
This isn't about politics. It's about
honor and betrayal and protecting our country. And for me it
is deeply personal, as it is for countless vets. Thirty-nine
years later, my mother still cries on Nov 14. Thirty-nine
years later, we miss my father every day. Thirty-nine years
later, Kerry poses as a hero. As children of Vietnam
veterans, many of us feel an unwelcome emotional strain as
the arguments about what really happened in Vietnam are
tugged back and forth, often by people who were not there.
We deeply resent the suggestion that our fathers were war
criminals as that theme inevitably seeps into the argument.
We are educated and grown. We have
children of our own, some in the service. We know in our
heart and soul the scars of war that will never go away. But
we are not weak, and we will not be silent. I will stand
with the Vietnam veterans who speak out, and the voice of my
father will be heard through me.
As long as I have breath and Kerry seeks
the office of president, I will speak out against him.
Others like me are too many to count.
While we are dismissed as dirty politics,
the truth is we would be doing the very same things if Kerry
were a Republican. President Bush has never had anything to
do with our opposition to Kerry, and if the president makes
a personal appeal to us to stop, we cannot and will not do
so, because there are some things that can never be
forgiven, can never be forgotten. John Kerry is one of those