I found you could talk to those who had been through it, but that was it. To everyone else you were either a good joker or story teller, because they could not comprehend something like combat. I remember when we landed at Norton AFB, we went through the administrative red tape and then an Air Force full bird Colnel told us " Things have change here in the US, you need to change out of those Marine uniforms, you were safer in the jungles of Viet Nam than on the street of LA." Over the nest 2 hours we were departing by bus, taxi's, family cars, I was about the last to leave waiting on an uncle, and I distinctly remember that not one Marine, had changed out of uniform. I stayed with my uncle and cousins for about 2 weeks before I finally bought a car and headed for Maine. It was a nice little 68 Cougar, 289, 3 speed, I got stopped on the PA turnpike, I topped a hill, doing about 105 and the state trooper was under a bridge about a 1/2 mile ahead, his lights came on and I just slowed down and pulled in behind him. He walked up to the window, got my license and registration, walked to the back bumper, came back and said, "you sure slowed it down fast", I said Yes Sir, it's got those new disc brakes on the front. He saw my Winter Service Marine green blouse hanging in the rear window, Sgt strpies and ribbons, he said, "You on your way home", I said Yes Sir! He reached in the car, shook my hand, patted me on the shoulder and said, "Thanks for want you did and for want you went through, now keep it on 80 and you be all right, but be careful, get home safe." That was the only thanks I really enjoyed for the whole 40 years since. But you know if I could do it again, I believe I'd go if I could!!
Freedom is not free, the cost can be seen everyday, for it is engraved in marble, cast in bronze and highlighted with little American flags!