This idea came from my dad, a Vietnam vet. I'll simply paraphrase his words:
Nick, we spent a year or more overseas, dreaming of being home, and whether we were grunts or base guys, we were all in combat. All we wanted much of the time was to be home, and when we got here, we were treated so poorly that it was often safer to hide our service from civilians. We were outcasts, expected by a lot of people in America to want to apologize for serving our country. Even now, while veterans of all other wars are treated with respect, we're still treated like the country's dirty little secret. Our problems - chemical exposure, injuries, and PTSD were all but ignored. Hollywood showcases every Vietnam Vet as some angry, unadjusted, malcontent. What binds us isn't what job we had when we were there. What binds us is that we were there.
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