The flashbacks & nightmares seem to be at peace. I made it to visit the local national military cemetery. I survived that OK... I think I'm ready....... Ready to make the pilgrimage to "The Wall". I'm planning on doing that this year.
On a side note while visiting the local national cemetery there seemed to be a lot of grave markers that had "VIETNAM" inscribed on them...... but the death dates seemed to be mostly in the last 5 to 6 years. Why are my brothers dieing so soon??????
Nam was a lost cause from the time the first soldier set foot on the ground there. There were no objectives and the 'leadership' in Washington tried to control a war thousands of miles away. When ever "Johnson & McNarma" bragged that planes couldn't bomb a outhouse without their ok says the command in Southeast Asia had their hands tied.
I finally made it to Washington to see The Wall this October. There are no words to describe The Wall. It was a very powerful, & moving experience. I felt the presence of all of those people there represented by their names. It was an experience I'll never forget.
There is in that long wall are thousands of names. Everyone of those names has family & friends who miss them terribly. Even though I recognized a name or two, none of them are forgotten.
I know from correspondence that I recieve that there a lot of 'post Nam' people who would like to know what the 60s & 70s were all about.
I visited the Korenan War Memorial and took some photos there. There I met two ladies who's father fought in the Korean Police Action as it was called. They said their dad would never talk about what happened there. They were at the Memorial looking for answers to questions. Their dad was quiet troubled by his time in Korea. He died without ever telling them anything.
How do you answer these questions? "What's it like to be shot at or hit? Did you kill anyone? How did you feel? Did you lose any close friends? ......................... " Tough questions...... especially to try to answer without getting to specific. I can't watch the movie "Saving Pvt Ryan".... what I saw in 30 seconds was too real for me. I understand that the movie "Black Hawk Down" is even more realistic. But keep in mind that NO movie can ever be like being there.
We've all seen photos on TV & the news of the Pentagon and the whole that was made in it by the plane crashing into it. As we came into Washington on I-395 we were right beside the Pentagon before we realized it. There are NO photos that can convey what the Pentagon looked like.
I have joined the American Legion Post 49 and the VFW Post 5910 here in Lebanon. After joining the American Legion I was ask to join the "Marion County Veterans Honor Guard". There are 19 members of the Honor Guard. Most of the members are WWII & Korean veterans. I am one of the youngest members of the Honor Guard. For some reason it is very hard to get the younger vets to join the American Legion & VFW We are ask to give the full military honors at veterans funerals if the family request our services.
We are usually ask to do the honors at about 65 funerals a year. All funerals are sad. But some are sadder than others. For instance:
Last year a man drifted into Lebanon. He started hanging out at Hardees. He started telling these war stories. Most people took them with a grain of salt. Then he was missed at Hardees for a couple of days. Someone went to check on him and found him dead. The officials did some checking and the war stories he'd been telling were only a small fraction of what he'd done in his military career.
None of his family could be located. He was buried at the Lebanon National Cemetery. Besides the Honor Guard, the only people there were his friends from Hardees.
There is a 21 year old Navy submariner that we buried in the fall of 2003 who died of lukemia. Some of the funeral staff said he was exposed to radiation which brought on the lukemia. You KNOW there was more men exposed to radiation than just one.
Marion County Veterans Honor Guard