Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Bowe Bergdahl

Today is Bowe's 28th birthday. While birthdays are typically a cause for celebration, the thought that Bowe has now seen 5 birthdays come and go while in captivity is heartbreaking. This is why today, Bowe's birthday, is a day of solemness. We reflect on it in our own way and it motivates us all differently for different reasons. But in the end what we all want, what we pray for, is that Bowe will soon return home to his family, to the place that is safe and familiar.

Maybe today we can all tell somebody that a friend who you've never met is having a birthday, that his name is Bowe Bergdahl. Tell them about Bowe and ask them to tell his story too. Today give Bowe the gift of your time. Dear Bowe Supporters, it's YOU who stand in the gap for Bowe until he comes home. We are all waiting and advocating for Bowe until we can celebrate his homecoming.

Don't forget that you can go to and leave a message of support for Bowe and his family. The Guest Book entries are being saved so that when Bowe gets home, they'll always be there for him to read. Here's the link to the Guest Book if you'd like to add your name to it:

Vietnam Welcome Home

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2014
Contact LTC Greg Heilshorn, 603-225-1340

An open letter from Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard:

A year ago New Hampshire welcomed home its Vietnam veterans.

Held to coincide with the national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war, the March 30 ceremony inside a Concord national guard hangar drew more than 2,000 people. Some traveled from other New England states to hear Gov. Maggie Hassan, the state's congressional delegation and numerous generals officially recognize a generation of service members treated badly by the nation that sent them to fight.

On Saturday, April 5, the governor and New Hampshire's elected officials will host another ceremony for Vietnam veterans beginning at 2 p.m. at White Mountain Regional High School in Whitefield. With 46,000 Vietnam-era veterans in New Hampshire there were many who could not attend the first one. The state's intent is to make the event an annual gathering, each time
in a different location and each time to say, "Thank you for your service.
Welcome Home."

I understand that there is no excuse for nearly a half century of apathy -- that no amount of polished speech and glad-handing will completely erase such an embarrassing period in our national history. For some Vietnam veterans Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or their military branch's birthday are sufficient enough reminders of their service. I am also aware of the lingering doubt of what constitutes a Vietnam veteran. Does it also include those men and women who were drafted and served stateside or in a country
other than Vietnam? I believe so. Is their service and sacrifice any less meaningful because they were sent to Germany, Italy or Alaska? Certainly not.

Underscoring this national reconciliation is the fact that these very same veterans swore that the next generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast guardsmen returning from war would receive the gratitude they deserved. Spend some time with the Pease Greeters and you will understand just how serious they have been about delivering on that promise. Since 2005, nearly 200,000 U.S. troops have passed through a gauntlet of praise and admiration at the International Tradeport whether they are flying
home or overseas. They do not distinguish by operation, country served in or branch of service.

The rest of us can learn by their example.

Join us on April 5.

Let these ceremonies -- one is being planned for June for New Hampshire's Korean War veterans -- serve as rally points to reinvigorate our collective conscience. To remind us of those who sacrificed more than was ever asked of them. And to appreciate them and, hopefully, be inspired by them.


Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III
Adjutant General, New Hampshire National Guard