Vietnam vets given ‘welcome home’ at Republican brunch
by Geoff Folsom
October 28, 2012 01:50 AM | 2854 views | 5 5 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Vietnam veteran and Cobb Republican Women’s Club Veterans Day Celebration event organizer Donna Rowe paid a special tribute to the Vietnam War veterans with music and inspirational words about their service to the United States.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Vietnam veteran and Cobb Republican Women’s Club Veterans Day Celebration event organizer Donna Rowe paid a special tribute to the Vietnam War veterans with music and inspirational words about their service to the United States.
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
West Point graduate and current instructor Daniel Gade speaks about what it is to be a hero. ‘Hero is an outcome,’ Gade said. ‘Hero is not a person.’<br>Staff/Todd Hull
West Point graduate and current instructor Daniel Gade speaks about what it is to be a hero. ‘Hero is an outcome,’ Gade said. ‘Hero is not a person.’
Staff/Todd Hull
slideshow
MARIETTA — More than 300 people came to honor veterans of World War II, Korea and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Saturday. But the 10th Cobb County Republican Women’s Club Veterans Celebration Brunch paid special attention to those who served in Vietnam.

Event organizer Donna Rowe, herself an Army nurse in Saigon, called the 50 Vietnam vets in attendance to come line the walkway in the center of the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center ballroom. With 1960s music from Buffalo Springfield and Credence Clearwater Revival playing, Rowe told the veterans they were getting the welcome home they didn’t receive at the time.

Rowe said the average age of the soldiers in Vietnam soldiers was 18, with more than 33,000 of the 58,267 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington being 18 year olds.

“Ten years of our lives, our youth, were spent in war, 74 percent of these men were volunteers, they were not drafted, like the liberal media painted them as dropout draftees,” she said. “A hundred percent of the women were volunteers, they didn’t draft women in those days…I wanted to tell you all this because these men deserved a coming home, and this is it guys, this is your coming home.”

Rowe then asked the audience to show their appreciation toward the veterans.

“Welcome home!” attendees said in unison.

Dave Hambrick of Marietta, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, said each time he came home from Vietnam, he received either a negative or no reaction.

“This is probably the most moving experience we’ve had since we’ve been back,” said Hambrick, a retired Marine captain who served from 1964-85. “We really appreciate Donna Rowe, being a Vietnam veteran herself, she understands the experience.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Army Maj. Daniel Gade, who lost his leg when his Humvee was destroyed by an improvised explosive device in January 2005 near Ramadi, Iraq. He later went on to serve in President George W. Bush’s administration in 2007-08 and is now an instructor in the social science department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s also competed in several cycling and triathlon events.

Gade told the audience that the word “hero” is often overused. He said that athletes like Tim Tebow and even many veterans are incorrectly labeled heroes.

“Hero is an outcome,” Gade said. “Hero is not a person.”

Heroes are formed by a combination of character and a moment, Gade said.

“When we talk about people who are heroes, typically what we are talking about is people of great character, who have met with difficult circumstances and thrived through those circumstances,” he said. “Of course the term hero applies to many of you here today, but you would have been heroes whether or not you were wounded in action. You would have been heroes whether or not you ever went to combat, because the root of hero is in the idea of character.”

Gade said that character involves keeping physically, mentally and spiritually healthy.

“If you have character, then it doesn’t matter what the bad thing that happens to you is, because you’re going to thrive and get through it,” he said. “Heroes are people who recognize beforehand, before the race ever starts, that they must develop their character now in order to succeed when hard things happen in their life.

Gade said that veterans and non-veterans alike can be heroes.

“I like to serve as a gigantic warning sign, it doesn’t matter f you’re young or old, man or woman, there are things coming in your future that are hard things,” he said. “I would encourage you to think about what level of development is your character, is your character at a level that, when something bad happens, you can come out on the other side and get through it? When the bad thing happens, it’s just way too late to develop your character at that point…If you think about the kinds of decisions you’ll make today, whether or not to have that extra drink, whether or not to go workout, whether or not to obey the speed limit on the way home. I would encourage you to begin making those small hard right choices rather than the easy wrong choice. That way, your character will be developed, and when your character is developed, you’ll be able to go through the bad things and thrive.”

Gade joked with emcee Moby, a country music disk jockey, that Moby had told him the event would be non-partisan. While mentions of the upcoming election were rare, Moby did get in some shots at Democrats, including Barack and Michelle Obama and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Others in attendance included U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), former Rep. Bob Barr and Cobb Commissioners Helen Goreham and JoAnn Birrell.
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D.L.Samson
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October 29, 2012
People say to me now, and I wonder now, whatever gave you the courage as a 29-year-old kid to announce to the united sates senate against a man who had an 82% favorable rating in a year when we knew it was going to be tough. What gave you the courage to run? Or some thought what made you so fool hardy. The answer, and you girls should know this, was your father; your father. I didn't know him when I announced for the Senate. But I honest to God believed that I could, maybe could, go help him end this war. I honest to God believed that. [break in tape] What people don't realize, had your father not been there; had your father not been in the Senate, so much more blood, so much more treasure would have been wasted. The war would have never ended when it did. It would have never ended how it did. Your father gave courage to people who didn't have the courage to speak up, to finally stand up. Your father stood there and took all of that beating. Your father, who was characterized by these right-wing guys as a coward and unwilling to fight. Your father was a genuine hero. The irony used to make me so angry, so angry, that your father would never speak up and talk about his heroism. Your father had more courage; physical courage in his little finger than 95% of those guys who continued to fight, to fight a a war we shouldn't have fought in the first place. But because he took such a miserable beating, he actually, even though he didn't win that election, he won the end of the war. It would have never ended.
JimStaro
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October 28, 2012
At a 'republican' brunch, that's a hoot as the (R) party no longer exists and hasn't for the past couple of decades. As well as combining that with Veterans, not a hoot, as they seek to privatize for profit and corporate easy welfare the VA!!

The new 'magnetic ribbons', 'parades' and 'welcome home celebrations', with no demand for Sacrifice get same results as 'parades' only last a few hours on one day! Think 'Desert Storm' and 'Gulf War Syndrome', Ignored till the last couple of years, finally, after the 'Parades'! Have the 'Welcome Home Parades' but at each the one word that should be spoke and on the minds of All, 'Sacrifice', Demand It, You Owe It and It's Long Overdue!

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71
Foundstar
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October 28, 2012
I appreciate the gesture..better late than never i guess..however..then they throw jabs at the President and that to me is pure BS...This man is trying to bring vets home from a Republiclan war..yet they throw him under the Bus.." No one left behind"..except those who try to heal...real class there grunt..Semper Fi...remember that?
30 Something
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October 28, 2012
I try to stay away from war "vets". Many of them have mental problems like my dad and are crazy.
vtgrad
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October 28, 2012
What an ignorant comment. Yes, many veterans have a tough road to hoe when they get home, and comments like yours are the reason why they do. I would be ashamed if I was your father. Obviously you don't "get it". I think you need to enlist and have a reality check.
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