Veterans: 'Thank you' is best

Noonie Fortin, a veteran who served in the Army Reserve for 22 years, said it is amazing to see how the life of a veteran is so different today than when she was in the Reserve.

She said when Vietnam veterans returned from the war, they could not go out in public in their uniforms because those who served were disliked by the majority of the American public in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"Even in the '80s in Germany, we couldn't go out in our uniforms because of all the terrorism," she said.

LaDuke said this caused many veterans to deny being veterans, sheltering themselves and their memories. Many of them still deny being a veteran today, he said.

"Many veterans want to put it in the past," he said. "And they want to bury it for it to be easier on themselves."

Now, when a man or woman comes home after serving, there is a different kind of pride that goes along with being a veteran " a huge difference from the time of the Vietnam War, Fortin said.

Another difference is the public welcome today's returning veterans receive.

"Today's [veterans] are welcomed home by Vietnam veterans, where Vietnam veterans were spit upon when they came home," Fortin said. "It's really our generation instilling that pride."

Fortin said she is proud to be the first woman in her family to join the military.

"Ever since I was little, that was what I wanted to do," she said about why she decided to join.

Fortin said that now, it is much more common for women to be in the military and on the front line, but there still is a ways to go in terms of reporting the number of female casualties in the same way male casualties are reported.

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