Friday, November 11, 2011

No Parades, No Protests. Just Patriotism And Pain.

I asked my friend and neighbor John for a picture for today's post. John is a US Vet and I was planning on a picture (of his) and a few sentences for a post. John suggested I devote some time to US overseas armed conflicts after Viet Nam and before Iraq. Not only did John offer me good idea, but how can I turn down a Veteran on Veteran's Day? Besides, it's his picture.
Roll Tape.
The USA evacuated personnel from Viet Nam hastily in April,1975.  The USA entered the Gulf War noisily in January,1991. There were cameras, reporters and press coverage for both. The time in between seems to have been lost.
 Unseen, But Ever-Present.
What did the US Military do from 1975-1991? Aside from staffing bases around the world, the US Military has been ready to defend our freedoms at the drop of a hat. Forget philosophy and budgets, this is about the men and women of the US Military. During the unpublicized era between Viet Nam and Iraq, US personnel have taken up arms and taken bullets in (list incomplete):  
US Military personnel were also killed in the bombing of the US Embassy in Lebanon, 1983.
Reunion. Source: John Linquist
Cold Sweats.
A few years back, I hit a deer while driving home. Occasionally that vision wakes me up at night.Whenever I see a deer by the roadside, it's all I can do to keep driving. I drive white knuckled during deer season. I can't imagine what it's like to dodge bullets or feel explosions. I don't have dreams of the person next to me being blown up by a grenade. I have no idea how are Service Personnel reassimilate to society. I know some (many) never find a way to fit back into "normal" life. That's exceptionally sad.
An Insufficient Thank You.
So to all Veterans: Thank you for the hardships you have chosen to endure so I can maintain my luxuries. Special thoughts are reserved for those that fought in places I didn't know we fought. And John, thanks to you.


  1. Barry, this is a perfect tribute. I too have no firsthand experience of gunfire or even hitting a deer. I am struck with severe anguish when I know that, even though I am a pacifist and never wanted any soldier to go anywhere representing me, it happened anyway. People died to maintain my "way of life", which I would also change if I could. I am not any less responsible for all the deaths on both sides because I did indeed buy the guns and pay the soldiers. The divides are nurtured. One of the most significant divides I see i our country is the one between the soldiers dying and the complete ignorance of the population outside the military of what is happening to these sacrificial soldiers in insane conflicts.

  2. Current,
    I feel for the military as well, especially for those that enlisted for the National Guard and wound up in an overseas desert. I make no apologies for "my way of life" but I without reservation object to the absurd way Vet's get their benefits approved, administered and too often cut.
    Thanks for your contribution to the conversation and your compliment.