Two or three times a year some of us older folks get a bit tangled up in memories (or memories of memories). Late April and much of May are my primary dates.
Late April because my pop was declared KIA in Korea on April 25, 1951.
Early May because I was discharged on May 9, 1969.
And then there is Memorial Day. The advertisements for sales and off topic events are difficult to avoid.
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The warrior needs/must have a gentle aspect ere he become a monster.
It was forty years ago today that US involvement in hostilities officially ended in Viet Nam. After being conflicted about writing on this subject all day, I finally could stand it no longer.
Part of me reacts rather cavalierly because the “end” of that war was only the beginning of lives of torment for too many of my friends. A few are still around and rarely spend a day without memories and can never escape the physical scars from their experiences. So, is the marking of forty years anything more than a reminder that pain can last for forty years and more? OK, we already knew that.
On the other hand, commemorating anniversaries is an effective way to make sure that our fallen brothers are never forgotten. In spite of there being relatively little national attention given this anniversary, there were many of us who have not and will not forget this day. Perhaps some others did notice.
Then there is the irony of this being Good Friday. Not quite sure what to make of that, but it kind of creeps me out. The juxtaposition of a very bad yet highly significant event in the lives of a major religion in this country with another very bad day in the history of this country seems to add another level of conflict.
On a very personal level, I have always had some angst over being technically a Viet Nam era veteran because I enlisted earlier in the month of March forty years ago. It’s an odd distinction, one which I did not even claim until recently. But, after a few decades of reflection, I came to appreciate the simple fact that even though our involvement ended within weeks of my enlistment I received my initial training from folks who were still in war mode, many of whom had served in or near Viet Nam. It was a perspective that served me well for the rest of my military career.
Having served through that transition period from an at war military to a peace time military afforded me all sorts of good lessons. Many of those stayed with me while others are mostly forgotten. Except on days like today.
Today I remember all my trainers and those who trained them who did not make it home. And each of the individuals represented by the names on the Wall. You, and all who served before and after you, are not forgotten.
It seems that we suffering with healthy doses of common sense are rapidly becoming extinct. At least that is how it appears all too frequently if you believe that the headlines of the day reflect what is going on among normal everyday people. Maybe not.
Based upon what we read, one could easily conclude that the most important items for us Americans to ponder are scary guns, White House tours, and who won whatever “reality” show. Though I may be in the minority, may I suggest that sports scores, who might commit the next celebrity suicide, and if there will be flooding when it rains should be a bit lower on the priority list for grown adults until after a few serious issues are addressed?
Like, for instance, when IS this society going to decide that there are no legitimate excuses for drug abuse and drunk driving? How many people are killed each year by those driving under the influence, yet we allow “them” to distract us with all sorts of silly stuff? Is there a county in the nation which does not have at least one incident every day involving a drunk or a druggie requiring law enforcement and/or emergency room intervention? Is there a family left in the United States which has not had at least one member of the family killed or seriously injured by a drunk or a druggy?
In its’ continuing war against women, the left has managed to put forth perhaps the silliest iteration to date. Instead of championing equal opportunity for all, they are now offering to sacrifice our women, young and old, to their cause using our military as their weapon.
And why not. This way they get to reduce our military effectiveness while getting rid of those women perhaps most likely to produce the next generation of patriots. It’s a win-win for those who worship at the altar of “fairness,” equal outcomes without regard for ability or production, and all those other ridiculous tenets which they deny come directly from a communist handbook.
While most of those who are pushing this agenda probably have no idea where their ideals originate or the probable outcomes of their proposals, they should. Since they do not, we can correctly call them idiots who are willfully ignorant and quite useful to the serious leftists in furthering the destruction of this country. The true believers count on these useful idiots to implement their agenda. Continue reading
The smoke and mirrors magic show continues in Washington, DC, this time with the brilliant diversion of getting everyone all up in arms over lifting the ban of women in combat specialties. Not that there is anything else which should command our attention like a Kerry nomination, international terrorism, the planned gun grab, sales of fighter planes to Egypt, or the economy, stupid.
It makes me ill. I am sick of hearing about it. I am sick of watching the destruction of this country bit by bit. And I am certainly sick of seeing the policy makers dilute the power and might of our military in ways that would be incomprehensible to the “greatest generation.”
So why should any of us care that some ivory tower fools who have never had to defend themselves from anything more dangerous than a paper cut opine about the merits of making military service “fair?” Simply because it seems that those idiots are making policy which impacts every American in one way or another.
With apologies to John Steinbeck.
“We need a vacation”, The Wife explained. “We’ll head down to Florida for Christmas and New Years and bask on some warm sunny beaches instead of freezing up here on the ridge in West Virginia”, she elaborated.
Murphy was ready too… Much more below the break.
Wow – what a year! So many strange events. So many unanswered questions. So much angst about just what else is coming our way. And a whole lot of grief as many of us of a certain age and older watch what we fought for slip away.
As the old line goes, “Hang on because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
Meanwhile, it’s New Year’s Eve! Time to face the New Year and whatever that may mean in this brave new world.
For me and mine, we will continue to live as well as our circumstances will allow us in spite of the obstacles whoever places before us. We still have the freedom to make a lot of choices even if they seem quite different from what we had imagined for this stage of life. Freedom. Yes, we do still have much more of it than we will likely live long enough to exercise.
Life really still is pretty good. With a little help from a few friends, we will continue to enjoy it.
Happy New Year, all! Shall we all resolve to live every moment of 2013 to it’s fullest?
This time of year many of us reflect upon what all the important people have meant in our lives. For some of us that includes the times we were far from our loved ones but among others serving in uniform also away from their loved ones. Those Christmases hold special meaning for us whether we were in a jungle, a desert, or a base in a friendly land.
However you celebrate the season, whatever your traditions and memories might be, from all of us here to all our friends, have a wonderful season.
Merry Christmas, all!
There are people who come into our lives who quietly have a positive impact upon us. If we are lucky, we realize it before it is too late to thank them.
Such a person was Sharon. While not a veteran herself, she became something of a mama bear to many of us. She married a veteran, a buddy of mine, and for her unfailing support of him I am extremely grateful. But beyond that, she was herself a great patriot. I have no doubt that without her troupe of veterans she would still have contributed to the strength of this country in many positive ways. She did just that and still supported the veteran community.
We lost our mama bear Sharon this week. Suddenly. She was there one moment and gone the next. It’s not something for which any of us was prepared. The sudden loss of a friend simply devastates us. In time, we will be grateful that she did not suffer long. But for now, we are shocked at the loss of our friend. We grieve for our own loss and we ache for her family.
There are moments with Sharon that will always bring a smile to my lips. Right now, it is not those times which come first to mind at the mention of her name. But those smiles when thinking about her will return some day.
To her husband, thank you for sharing her with us. For the rest of the family, your loss is shared by many. My life was only one of the multitude enriched by having Sharon in it. She will always be missed.