POW’s was returned from Vietnam.
Not only was my kid wild, but both Grandmama and I were wild too. When I read that James Bond Stockdale was returning to San Diego and there would be a parade, something in me thought to get Lessa out of school and go down and take part in this. I packed us up, included sweaters and coats, and off we went.
I was adamantly against the war in Vietnam, but that didn’t mean I was against those who fought in the war. I was an Army veteran and understood what this welcome was all about. I knew my beautiful daughter had no understanding of the military, patriotism, or love of country or anything else red, white, and blue. Perhaps I thought I could inoculate her with all this in one swoop.
Amazingly, we found somewhere to park near the Rosecrans gate, and we all found places to sit in the growing crowds. Someone passed out flags. Someone else passed out flowers.
The wait grew long. Fog began to creep over the Point. The crowds grew thicker, and the kids were put up on shoulders or pushed to the front so they could see. Someone called out that the radio said they had left the airport. Someone else said they could see them coming.
Lessa was handed a giant armload of flowers.
Everyone stood on tiptoes to see what was happening. Suddenly we could see the lead automobiles. Lessa pushed through the crowds just as the Stockdale car started to turn in front of us. Right up to Mrs. Stockdale she ran, and she put all the flowers right into her lap. That couldn’t happen today.
“I gave her all my flowers,” she called as she ran back to us. All I, the anti war mother could do, was hug her tightly.