Thank You Letter to Vietnam Veterans


Dear Vietnam Veterans,

I was once told that out of the worst of circumstances, good things can happen.  I have always believed this statement, and after reading this letter, I believe you will too.  Anytime the subject of the Vietnam War comes up, people are always filled with thoughts and visions of a "dirty little war" that was fought in a far away foreign jungle, and that it was the only war that the Americans have "lost."  I am here to tell you that many of the battles fought in the Vietnam War were glorious and victorious, and were not even fought in the jungles, air, sea or any other battlefield.

It is common knowledge, that many wars are initiated and fought in the interest of political battle lines and freedom, and so it was, as cloudy as it seemed, that the United States was drawn into the Vietnam War.  You might think the war was lost because Vietnam is still in the grips of Communism, but I want you to take a look at the whole picture and see what was gained. I have a perspective of the Vietnam War that many cannot see.

You see, I was born in  Da Nang, Vietnam during the tail end of the war.  I was born of a faceless and unknown Vietnamese woman, and an American soldier.  By circumstance, I ended up being one of thousands of orphans in a small Vietnamese orphanage....left without a mother or father.  It was only by the grace of God that I was discovered and adopted by a US Army Captain that I now call "Dad".

A newborn Vietnamese girl was also adopted with me.  I was adopted at a very young age, and while I have no specific memories of the events in my life while in Vietnam, I do have very vivid memories of how I felt. I can remember always feeling confused and scared.  I can remember the unexplainable feeling of release when I was traveling to United States on an airplane with my new guardian angel.  I can even remember not understanding a word he said, but I knew that for the first time in my life, I felt safe. Many years have passed since I was delivered from the demise I would have likely suffered had I not been adopted.

You see, after the Vietnam War ended countless numbers of children that were half American that did not make it out, were executed.  It is likely that I would have been one of those.  It is this fact that made me realize that had it not been for the Veterans of the Vietnam War and had it not been for the grace of God, me and thousands of other children would have  perished.  The number of children that were adopted and evacuated out of that war torn country numbers in the thousands.  Every time I see pictures or movies from the Vietnam War where American soldiers are carrying young terrified Vietnamese children to a waiting helicopter,  or away from a bloody burning village, it tears my heart out.  A scene that particularly stands out in my mind is the photos and movie clips of the helicopter on the roof of the US embassy as Viet Cong forces overtook Saigon.  Watching the children being loaded onto that waiting helicopter reminds me of how lucky I was and how brave the American soldiers were to put their lives on the line to save just a few lives.  That scene is one of thousands where American soldiers risked their lives to save the lives of so many unknown Vietnamese children.

So you see, the Vietnam War has more success stories than you realize. I am living proof of that.  Don't ever let anyone try to convince you that the Vietnam War was a waste and that nothing good came out of it.  Thanks to you, the Veterans of the Vietnam War , me and countless other lives were saved and were given a chance to serve a merciful and gracious God.

Words cannot express the gratitude that I have in my heart for every American that witnessed the terrible atrocities of a war that no one seemed to understand.  Words cannot begin to describe the success stories of the young lives that you delivered from certain death.  The only two words that can even begin to express how I feel towards Vietnam Veterans is "Thank you".  Thank you for saving my life; thank you for giving me a chance to know and serve our God.  Thank You for the moments where I look into my eyes of my two sons and see a little bit of all of you in them....

My generation seems to have lost themselves with the "me" attitude, but I want every one of you to know that me and thousands of others appreciate what you did for us. We are a living legacy of the courage and sacrifice made by so many young Americans, and I will pass that legacy on to my children so that they will always know whom to thank for a life that is full of so many blessings.  I do not take the sacrifices you made for granted, nor will my children. 

The stories of rescue, hope, sacrifice and second chances are certainly not limited to the Vietnam War, but is part of the continuing saga of all wars that Americans have fought bravely. Whether you are one of the soldiers that helped liberate the Jews from the unimaginable insanities of Hitler, or whether, you were one of the soldiers that helped stop Communism dead in its tracks along the 38th parallel in Korea, or whether you were one of the soldiers that delivered an entire nation from the evils of a self serving dictator in the Middle East, or whether you are one of the soldiers that helped save thousands of Vietnamese and American/Vietnamese children from death, you are all heroes in my eyes!  To all of you War Veterans, and to all the families that have lost a loved one to war, "thank you, and may God bless you and your families!" Your sacrifice and courage will never be forgotten.

With a heartfelt thanks,
Kirk Kellerhals