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Talk of the war...
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Cindi    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:20:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
...and thinking of the wars past, something came to me and I may get yelled at for this, but I want to share it anyway.

It occured to me that on days when I am rushing around tending to daily business, I may be standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank, in front of or behind a man who may have killed a human being in his life. Maybe many human beings, maybe with his bare hands.

I may be slow, but when this thought hit me I got lost in it. What must it be like to have such an event in one's memory? There is no condemnation accompanying the thought. No judgement, just awe. Wonder. That's what war is about, fighting to the bitter end. Surviving. But it seems to me that merely surviving must be a personal war in itself. What kind of strength must it take to deal with the memories? A lot more than I possess I suspect.

Alvin NE WI    Posted 04-23-2004 at 18:55:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi, I know the feeling, I sometimes stand in line also and visit with the person in front of me or in back of me. If they only knew Whart I did when i was 19 years old I wonder if they would still greet me so friendly. When i was in infantry training back in '51 we were told in plain English that if we wanted to see our parents, girl friends and everyone else, pay attention, or we will not be back PERIOD. I payed very close attention, remembered my God each and every day, asked for a lot of help and extra smarts to see me through to the next morning, got back home to a sweet gal that i am still married to , 51 years next month. I do not say much abiut my days in Korea but I have some very good friends around the country that are closer to me that most other people except my spouse and children and their families.

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:31:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Very good topic Cindi. And good story about the dog.

Cindi    Posted 04-23-2004 at 15:25:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks eb.

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:40:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
How do you know that that person in front or behind you doesn't have a bomb strapped to their stomach? The enemy is hard to distinguish from. They could look like your neighbor. Those boys and girls over seas probably don't know who's who. I'd be scared outa my shorts

Oh, you don't...    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:02:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
...and I'm not in any way making such a comparison. I'm just saying that we walk among people daily who have incredible histories that we will never know anything about.

Another way to look at it    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:35:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was an infantryman in Vietnam, I often think about what you are talking about, it will never completely go away. I also think about something else. War is sometimes necessary weather one agrees with that or not war is a fact of life. I was in Vietnam, I saw what war did to that country. Recently I was in Kuwait and Iraq. I seen what war has done there. I have seen scenes of the WTC bombings, bad as it is you cannot get the effect watching the scenes on tv. You can't really see the carniage, or smell the smells of death on TV. From what I have seen I understand that our military arn't just fighting for our freedom, but they are fighting just as hard to keep war and all its carniage away from their homes. Yes I am a selfish american, I love my country, my state and my comunity. I want keep our wars in the lands of the terrorist and away from my home and family. I haven't done a very good job protecting my family, my wife and boys all volenteered. As did my father and brothers. You see they also wanted to keep wars away from our homes.

Sorry for the spelling, I am a product of public education.


eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:44:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your whole family is over there right now?

KraigWY --No    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:10:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Not now, Wife is home and out (retired) two sons and a step son are home but still in the service. I was told I was too old so I had to let wife and kids do my job.

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:12:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sounds to me you did a VERY GOOD JOB!!!

screaminghollow    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:21:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
I worked for a kindly WW2 vet when I was a teenager. It was no secret that he had killed a lot of Japanese and it bothered him. His Christian upbringing had to be over come by the war stories about how they were evil and invaded our country. Then he was placed in a position where it was kill them or be killed himself. After the war, when the US and Japan "made up" he went back to his upbringing. He would waffle between feeling guilty for taking lives and feeling like a war hero. I think it bothered him more and more as years passed. It was the late 60's and unlike many WW2 vets of that day, he was adamant that no one he knew should go off to war, unless an enemy actually attacked on our soil. He had no problem with fighting for the survival of our country, but considered it a profane loss of life to fight for any other reason.
For WW2 vets and to some extent Korea and Vietnam, combat was more personal. Soldiers often saw the faces of those they killed and witnessed the agony of the deaths of both their comrades and the enemy. While that does go on in Iraq and Afghanistan, the modern push button wars have lost much of that personal involvement with the individuals the soldier kills. Some guy in a bunker a thousand miles away launches a rocket and blows up a hundred enemy soldiers in a building. Few actually witness the death and dying of their victims.
Yes indeed, say thank you to all vets. But keep in mind that the ones you run into on the street are the lucky ones. The VA hospitals have wards full of those who can't deal with life in the community. Please do something for them as well.

Clipper    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:06:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
For any combat Vet the experience of taking lives creates a little monkey of memories that stays with you for the rest of your life. For the most part you keep from dwelling on it and when you can keep the memories distant you win. For the times when the memories overwhelm you (nightmares) or have a impact on you in your waking hours the monkey wins.

Cindi    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:27:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
It seems to me, (and since I have no personal experience to draw from, I really have no idea what I'm talking about, but) it seems to me that that no matter what a man was forced to do, if he reminds himself that that action may have resulted in himself or another American soldier coming home, that it just might help settle that monkey a bit. I know that's the way I look at it. Yes an enemy died, but he was out to kill an American soldier, and whether it was his personal choice or whether he was ordered to or forced to, he no longer has that ability.

Like VietNam, the Iraq war is not a conventional war. Women and children are being used as weapons or as soldiers, and that opens up a whole new world of potential horrible memories, but the end result is the same. Kill or be killed. A man has to face the enemy no matter what form it approaches in.

Clipper    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:36:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
That theory sounds all well and good Cindi and for many Vets it does help them cope....but for far too many the monkey has grown into a gorilla that overwhelmes them at every turn and eventually will destroy them.

Cindi    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:55:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm sorry Clipper. I wish you the best. Even in your mother-in-law war. (smile)

Clipper    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:17:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Heck you got nuthin to be sorry for in my case Cindi....I took the pay,did the job,and came home. Case closed... :^)

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 08:21:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
God bless!

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 07:05:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
Going to a concert about 12years ago, my friends and I got stopped by a very rough looking man in the downtown streets of Minneapolis. This man asked me if I've ever been shot at. My reply was "no". This man then preceded to hit himself in his face with a closed fist, screaming at me with spit running down his chin. All I could do is stand there. I aw at what this person was doing to himself.
I also met a Gulf War Vet in the mall around that time. Being a 16-17year old kid listening to this mans stories was interegging. Not only did it give me insite to what he went through, but he also got to see that even punk kids gave a s@#T about our soldiers. Last thing said.." Thanks for listening kid".

DD    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:50:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi, I work with several men who were just boys when they got sent over to Vietnam. Several of them are my close friends and I've always just let them talk about it if they needed to and not brought it up to them. I guess that's their own brand of therapy sometimes, and some of them turn to booze or drugs also. I'm only 36 so I wasn't around to see how they were treated when they came back but I've watched plenty of Documentaries about it. It makes me very sad to think what those brave men had to go through. I'd also have to say that I dunno if I could have made it through some of the things they've told me about and been able to come out on the other side with my mind intact either. Now I know (only by their descriptions of it) why someone said: War is Hell -- that's about what it sounds like to me.

It has to be...    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:59:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
And surviving it has got to be. So many facets of one's life are impacted. We need soldiers to fight for us and keep us safe, but nobody seems to put any real thought into what is entailed in that fight. The lack of personal comfort, the lack of the nearness of family, the strange hostile environments, strange languages, sparse meals or none at all, illnesses while in the field. I gotta tell you, my hat is off to them.


Salmoneye    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:40:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Shake their hand and say Thank You...

From what they tell me, it means more than anything else you could do or say...

eb    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:35:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Alot of them don't have the strength to deal with it. That's why they go crazy. We need to praise them when they come home and not condemn them like after Vietnam. Freedom comes with a hefty prise. Nobody has to live like those people over there.

Cindi    Posted 04-23-2004 at 06:46:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
For what it's worth, I do thank them. It's a horrible fact that in order to protect ourselves others must die, wheteher we wish to fight or not, and someone must be put in the position to deal with that fact firsthand. I will never view them as anything but heroes.

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