I wrote the original post yesterday after visiting the replica of the Viet Nam Memorial, recreated here in my home town for Memorial Day. As all memorials to war, it was moving to see, stirring up emotions and memories. I felt the same way when I walked the cemetery in Normandy...
I cried for my father, though he served far away in the Philippines. And I could barely hold my composure walking among the barren cement sculptures of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin...
I woke this morning thinking I should tone my post down a bit, but I decided against it. Memorials are markers of our past history, and they serve to remind us of our collective inhumanity to man. Though we move past them, somehow we never forget, nor should we.
War is Hell...
I lived through Viet Nam, only because I wasn't there. But I, like so many other young people from the 60's and 70's, remember its horror well. We remember watching the young men sweat out a letter from the Draft Board...tentatively watching them digest their "number". We remember the letters from boot camp, the teary phone calls, the white faced shock of the words "Riverboats". We watched the protesters passively, wishing we had the courage to pick up a sign ourselves. We all watched and waited.
If they lived, they came back scarred anyway, forever changed. We remember the bad dreams, the shakes, the dubious coping mechanisms and the ill-fated attempts at normalcy. We remember praying for sanity and strength, peace and forgiveness. A lucky few of us watched heroes overcome the horrors, seemingly unscathed and make their peace with life. But many more watched helplessly as the demons of the aftermath won the final battle. And we, like collateral damage, somehow survived.
If they fell, their names are etched on this memorial, carved with care, for the remembrance of strangers passing by on a sunny day. May we never forget their service or their sacrifice.
Today I am also remembering Red, my father who served in the Philippines; Kenny and Ellis, my uncles who fought in Korea; and Ron, who rode the riverboats in Viet Nam.
I am grateful for the service of my sweet Dave for flying his "Connie" during Viet Nam, my three brother for their Navy years, Joel for his service in Afghanistan and our other veterans, friends and family who served their country. Thank You.
Laurel. God Bless Our Troops!