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Let’s Remember Vietnam Veterans Across the Nation

Dear Editor:

   A recent article that appeared in the Lowell Sun was about an effort in Chelmsford to identify those residents who served in Vietnam and create a memorial or marker to honor them by name. I applaud their efforts.

   I am honored and blessed to be able to visit Groton’s own Sawyer Common on Hollis Street and view the World War II Memorial where the names of my father and uncle are listed, who were both Groton residents at the time of their service.

   As a Groton Vietnam veteran, I thought it would be important to carry on the tradition of a memorial listing Groton people who served in that awful war. I thought it would be good for posterity, and a way for children and children’s children to remember part of Groton’s important past.

   It was disappointing to me, to say the least that my inquiries into such an undertaking were met with negatives. Too many variables I was told. How to search the records. Definition of town residency. Lack of Consensus.

   And yet our elders- Groton residents from our past- were somehow able to pull it off.

   The Vietnam war was certainly not a popular war. There were protestors, draft notice burners, religious exemptions, and even people who fled to Canada to avoid the draft (but were later pardoned). But there were also Groton residents who accepted their duty- some with more enthusiasm and some with less. 

   But accept it we did. And the return to home was less than glamorous. No Welcome Home banners. Not so much as an acknowledgement of the horrors that some of us had witnessed in a war zone and returning to a “normal” life in a small town.

   Please remember this country’s Vietnam Veterans across the nation. Over 50,000 who were sent there whether with a sense enthusiasm or as an obligation- did not return home safely. Their names are etched into the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.

Sincerely,

Jack Saball

Just an old Groton War Veteran

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