We were young.
We have died.
Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia sustained 54 casualties in the Vietnam War, highest of any high school in the nation. Fifty-four out of a total of 58,272.
Like those kids from Thomas Edison High, they were, most of them, just kids. The gravestones bear that out. Born in '50; died in '68. Fresh from football games, sock hops and drag races and dropped by helicopter in the jungle in the middle of a firestorm. They had no idea what they were getting into. Nothing could have possibly prepared them for this.
No matter what we thought about that war, or think about it today, it doesn't change the fact that they died, and they died doing what they were called to do. They were called up to serve their country, and they went.
Here's why we honor them: they did the right thing for the right reason. They answered the call because of loyalty to their country. Doesn't matter if the country was divided over whether the war was right or wrong; they still died doing the right thing for the right reason.
Sometimes we have to break it down like that. It's not a perfect world.
We can't control everything. But we can control what we do, and why we do it. Think about it. Are you doing the right things for the right reasons? It makes a lot of difference whether you can take the heat of criticism or endure the hardship of completing a difficult task.
If you're doing the right thing for the right reason (like serving patients of the coronavirus) you may even die for it, but that's the chance you take. You know that's a possibility, and you're willing to sacrifice yourself if need be, because you are doing the right thing for the right reason.
They were young.
They have died.