For many years following my USO tour, I was looking for some way to continue to help our troops and veterans, and I needed to share with someone the profound feelings I came away with after seeing war firsthand. When Artie Muller invited me to join Rolling Thunder, I jumped at the opportunity to serve again, especially with this dedicated group of people. They work tirelessly to see to it that every last one of our soldiers, sailors, Marines, pilots, Coast Guard members and nurses are accounted for and that returning veterans are welcomed properly, with respect and the care they deserve.
Have you ever been in a foxhole where you can taste the dirt and smell the fear? They have.
Have you ever faced an enemy with a gun, a knife and fury in his eyes? They have.
Have you ever taken a bullet or two or three? Stepped on a mine? Been the recipient of an insurgent's IED? They have.
Have you ever seen your friends die, some instantly and some excruciatingly slowly as you have tried to stop the bleeding with your hands, begging them to hang on? They have.
Have you ever waited for your husband, son, father, daughter or mother to come home, all the while terrified that he or she might not?
Did you say goodbye to a warrior and never get the chance to say hello again? That happened to more than 700,000 American families.
Have you ever lost someone to a war, blown to bits, beyond recognition, or slowly disappearing because of crippling injuries and disease caused by profound wounds or exposure to chemicals used in warfare? More than 600,000 American families have.
91,808 families are still waiting to learn what happened to their loved ones who are listed as missing in action or prisoner of war.
Prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl's parents are waiting for him to come home. Can you imagine what that's like?
Have you held wounded soldiers in your arms? I have. Do you know what they said? "I just want to go back to my buddies."
Some people I have talked with about supporting our troops at home and in harm's way say they don't because they are anti-war. I say we can hate war but still support the people fighting war. "Hate war," "love the troops" are not mutually exclusive ideas.
The largest yearly demonstration in the United States is about to begin for the 25th time. Join us at the events of Rolling Thunder and see what it's all about. Friday night's candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a good place to start. See you there?
Nancy Sinatra has sold millions of records and scored 23 charts hits. She is a proud member of Rolling Thunder.