Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterans Day-Remembrance Day

I was unable to write about what I was used to calling 'Veterans Day'
in the US before the day. I got out of the Marines in May 1970.
I think that I was in one, maybe two parades, and that was it.

I felt like I was just giving my country's leaders, and their war
credibility. All that happened after a parade to 'honour the dead' was
a big, if not massive drinking fest at the local vets clubs.

I drank lots then, from may 1970 until either December 1972, or January
1973, but I didn't want to dress up and walk down the streets and be a
part of what I felt, (and still did not fully understand) was wrong, and

No matter how my country's leader's praised us, (we were in reality trained
killers, and I knew that), or justified the war-for that is what Veterans Days
and Remembrance Days are all about. Justifying, the illegal. Legaliged murder, maiming, death, destruction, and more...I did not feel well, or good inside.

My remembrances, or memories were, and are to this day of 'The Girl I Met On Christmas Day 1968- DaNang' my first day in Vietnam. And, of seeing child
victims of our war with missing arms and legs, and of that girl who tore my
heart out when I saw her injury. And, that was before I ever touched a rifle in Vietnam. I have always wondered what happened to her.

It was before my friend's hand was blow open two feet away from me while he was
talking, and instructing me on how to safely handle a fuse of hand grenades
left on the ground. Blood flying in both directions...And, hearing a massive explosion as he looked at me while screaming...and I looked astonished, and
we both were in shock.

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day were after I survived nightly sapper attacks
(freedom fighters trying to blow us to bit) by people trying to rid their country
of foreign invaders-us.

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day was after two terrified Marines came running
towards our bunker (on one far end of a jungle ridge in the A Shau valley)in the
dark of night screaming in utter terror 'The gooks(i don't use that word; it's what
they said) are all around us...we're gonna die.'

And, they did die because we did the only thing that we could. We had seconds.
We did what we had to do on our first night on that ridgeline. We put our K-Bars (combat knives) to their throats...and sent them back to their bunker. It was other
Marines the first night, but they said something similar, 'We're all gonna die; they
get in every night.' We were replacing this unit; it was their last night, and they
were letting us know what we were in for.

We evacuated our bunker when the Marines we sent back left. Minutes later their screams tore through the night. They were being knifed by a sapper to prevent their escape before his satchel detonated.

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day came after I had to wipe up human remains-theirs and
the sapper's later that morning. Their is no training for that. It was the most horrible thing I have ever done in my life. It is with me every day. Night and day.
Day and night.

On my way out of the combat zone our copter set down at a distant firebase, and there
in the mist I saw body bags stacked up like cordwood three or four rows high on the tarmac maybe twenty yards long, and I wept inside.

I felt dead and numb inside when I returned home, as the saying goes...'like an old man in a young man's body.' I turned 60 in October and feel younger than I did when I
came home. I couldn't drink enough to numb the pain.

So, I don't celebrate Veterans Day or Remembrance Day

Since then I have felt, and do as I type this that on the Judgement Day and after even if Allah God, and those two men smile and tell me that it's okay...I will still
feel like shit and in pain for sending them back...and all else I saw, experienced
and did.

War is horrible for what it does to civilians as is being done in Iraq, Afghanistan.
Everywhere. And also for those like me who believe in a lie. Both end up traumatized.
the rich profit handsomely off the misery of others.

Unlike other wars my country denied the existance of Post Traumatic Stress until
1980. It's all about money. So, now you know why this veteran doesn't celebrate
Veterans Day or Remembrance Days.

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