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Veterans Day should be recognized every day of the year

Nov. 12, 1999

I received an e-mail the other day that told of Jane Fonda's recently naming as one of the top 100 women of the century. Attached to the end of the letter was another letter--a sad letter.

It was written by a veteran who had been declared missing in action by the United States and a prisoner by the North Vietnamese. Jerry Driscoll told a gut-wrenching story about his meeting with Fonda.

She was visiting Hanoi and made a stop at the camp where Driscoll and three of his fellow soldiers were kept. Seeing she was an American, the group of pilots scribbled out their social security numbers and secretly palmed them to Fonda when she was passing down the line.

After shaking their hands, she quickly turned to their captors and handed over the slips of paper. The names of the three other men that stood in the line with Driscoll are forever remembered on a dark granite wall in Washington D.C.

He survived and lived to tell the story that clenches my opinion that Jane Fonda should have been tried and convicted of treason.

My father recounts stories of seeing Fonda on the nightly news surrounded by a group of

North Vietnamese citizens going through the motions of shooting down American fighter planes.

Equal to Fonda's actions were her words. She made countless radio broadcasts during her visit in Hanoi that contained not only anti-war sentiments, but also anti-American sentiments.

Fonda referred to the war effort as 'crimes being committed against [the North Vietnamese] by Richard Nixon' in one of the broadcasts.

These soldiers who were killed and not given the homecoming they deserved because of people like Fonda may not have chosen to go to Vietnam, but they heard the call of their country and they answered.

They did not want to leave their families, homes or the soil that was so familiar to them. But, their country said 'Jump!' and they said 'How high?'

I met a man Thursday who was an inspiration. His name was Al. He was an elderly gentlemen who was at football practice to see how the Bears look this season. With homecoming looming, I asked the man if he was an alumnus. He told me how he had played for the Bears in 1941 and how he didn't get to finish his football career because of Pearl Harbor. To Al, I say 'thank you.'

Today, we're not being bombed, but we are still protecting our country and the best interests of our allies. As I sit here at a computer terminal in an air-conditioned building, my uncle is halfway across the globe in Bosnia. He is currently stationed there on a peacekeeping mission with the Army National Guard.

Tomorrow is not Veterans Day, but it should be. It should be something that we think about every day. As you walk around campus and see the yellow ribbons with American flags tied around lamp posts, stop. And don't just stop, read. The person's name on that plaque did you a great favor. They gave you a gift that is difficult to repay.

Dawn Maple is a sophomore journalism major from Denver, Colo.