I pulled up to a traffic light this morning and while waiting to be given the green arrow to turn left, I noticed that I was behind a car with "Vietnam Vet" license plates.
My mind started thinking about how so many of the veterans of the Vietnam "Conflict" came home to a nation divided in its attitudes about the war and those who fought in it. It made me want to put my car in park, rush up to the driver, and just thank him for serving his country.
At just that moment, we were given the green-for-go, so my imaginary expression of gratitude was cut short and I prepared to switch my foot from the brake to the accelerator. The problem with that, though, was that the honorable veteran's car was not moving. I don't know if his thoughts were distracted or he was reading a text or the effects of Agent Orange had finally caught up with him, but he was not heeding the traffic signal's clear insistence that it was time to turn left and get on with the morning commute.
Because the guy risked his life for my sake, I gave him an extra second or two.
Okay...that was enough...I lightly tapped my horn: a friendly little "toot-toot"...all the while hoping he wouldn't have a Mekong Delta flashback and go all Apocalypse Now on my sorry, little Kia.
The arrow turned yellow, the vet lurched through at the last possible moment, and I was stuck sitting through another cycle of light changes.
It's amazing how quickly a feeling of warmth and thankfulness can turn to "I'm glad they have special Vietnam Vet license plates available. I like being warned about things like that."