A Memorial Day reminder

Fifty years ago, the Vietnam War raged both in Vietnam and here at home. As a military brat just beginning to sense the passions sweeping through the adult world, I didn’t know what to make of what we saw each night on the evening news.

I saw how intently my parents followed the news of the war. And I was old enough to recognize that some of the men on TV and in newspaper photos wore the same uniform as my dad, and that once in a while Mom and Dad would be shaken by news that someone they knew or had served with, someone with a family like ours, had been reported killed in action or missing in action.

A lot of things have changed since then, and I understand some of it a lot better. Some of it I don’t.

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58 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@TomMiddleton


Outstanding speech.  Thomas Jefferson would be ecstatic upon hearing it.  I predict that it will be the inspired black people, who never give up fighting for his ideals to become reality, especially, who will save our nation.  Watch how they vote in the fall. The irony is profound.


Keep going, Tom.  Very well done.  How you found that speech by Donovan Livingston is a gift to me and to others reading this blog this morning.  Education is the answer to save our nation, which Jefferson knew to be true two centuries ago.

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@MaryElizabethSings @TomMiddleton

Thanks, Mary, but I'm pretty sure there's more to education than knowing how to abuse your slave,  and we're talking morality of course. And the fact that Jefferson never understood that how he treated Sally was dead wrong as a basic ideal to all humankind, speaks volumes about things that he didn't know, things like a belief in true equality and, of course, the power of love when properly applied.

And while I'm certain that you're going to disagree with me about this like, you know, you always do, I'm also sure of one thing more: that your father could not have taught you any different from what I just said and  have been any kind of father at all.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@TomMiddleton 


My father taught me to be true to myself, above all. He was a wonderful father. 


How sad that you end your remarks to me, which had been so inspiring, in such a negative way.


Please let this issue go.  It is not healthy to keep this conversation going.

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

@MaryElizabethSings @TomMiddleton 

Yourself? I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, Mary, but it's not about you, and it's not about me either. It is however, about all of us together in the unlimited formless form we refer to as God, something Jefferson at least suspected (with his edited Bible) but never learned to internalize.

I would bet lots that your father knew these things very well as a part of his daily life, and I would bet also that sometimes so do you. There's no egalitarianism outside of God nor can there ever be, since only in the unlimited (timeless) complete can perfection be said to exist.

 

gotalife
gotalife

I am sure after Hillary wins, con patriotism will go mia again for another 8 years so lets not kid ourselves.

gotalife
gotalife

After 8 years of missing in action, patriotism is returning to our rw.


I missed that con patriotism.


Welcome back cons.



barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Hear me now! A Warrior

has died who walked

this world with dignity

and pride and will do

the same on the other

side. Hear me now a

Warrior has died.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Heard this tune during a run this morning, seemed appropriate on a day we remember those we've lost.


Jane don't cry
Your daddy'll be all right
Jane don't cry
Your daddy'll be all right
He's there with you
How do I know
I walk with him


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od2ayP_DxzY

Corey
Corey

Sorry folks. Trump is what America is now. Greedy, narcissistic, petty, whiny, ungrateful, self-absorbed and petulant. Let's all take a selfie to remember it.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Corey


We shall find out in November what America is today, don't you think, Corey?  


I have faith in the American people that we shall see through machinations of the devious and transcend our lower selves to be the America and the Americans of our Founding Fathers' dreams - the hope of this nation and of this planet's future.


My very best wishes to you, Corey.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

How fun-  interesting as maybe it is because the majority of us don't feel compelled to spill their lives out on a AJC blog.  Anyway stick with the "its Memorial Day theme"  


No one on this blog, including the host, has ever posted anything, which I have read, that comes even close to encompassing the mind, spirit, and vision for humanity of my father. And, my father acted in Georgia's politics to ensure that future for humanity

Corey
Corey

I hear that Kristol and the other conservative intellectuals are pushing for a 3rd party candidate. Maybe a Kardashian, or Dennis Rodman, someone who really knows policy and stands for conservatives principles, unlike the the clown wing of the party. Scooby and Shaggy would also make a good ticket; they are problems solvers, given how much time they spend thinking in the back of the Mystery Machine. Go GOP

straker
straker

Mary


Even if your father was "a better man than anyone on this blog" it does not speak well of you to deliberately demean the rest of us.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@straker


This is Memorial Day.  It is not about you, me, or anyone else on this blog.  Let us keep that in mind and honor those who have died that "The American Experiment" might live on this planet, eternally.

straker
straker

Bill - "handsome real man in the oval office"


The Taliban Tea Party would be lost if not for useful tools like you.

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

It's a shame that liberal Democrats, secular progressives, communists and socialists who live in America just don't get what it all means today. Those fools can get on these boards, complain about what makes America great and then get away with it. That's amazing! Bill weeps for this once-free nation, but once Bill is done weeping, He smiles knowing that there will be a competent, handsome Real Man in The Oval Office who will quickly return this failed nation to its proper role in the world. Amen, Bill 

straker
straker

Mary - "he was a better man than anyone on this blog"


Since there is no way you can truly know everyone on this blog , then that statement may or may not be true.


Think before you speak.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@straker


No one on this blog, including the host, has ever posted anything, which I have read, that comes even close to encompassing the mind, spirit, and vision for humanity of my father. And, my father acted in Georgia's politics to ensure that future for humanity.


Please read the following entry on my own blog, entitled, "A Wind Is Rising" which I dedicated some months ago to my father.


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/a-wind-is-rising/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Let us remember to honor the dead of all wars by changing the world so that there will be no more wars, and no more dead young people as a result of them.


President Obama: “That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”

straker
straker

It has been known for years now that the Vietnam war was a complete disaster that never should have happened.


And yet, we have been, for many years now, involved in more useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


There can only be one explanation for this.


When it comes to our overseas military adventures, The Military-Industrial-Complex is in the saddle and will keep on spending our blood and treasure in return for profit and power.


Only in America.

skydog12
skydog12

Timing is everything. My father got in WWll late in 1943. He got issued a P-38 Lightning on arrival to the Philippines. 

Since the P-38 was far superior to any other fighter, he had it relative easy. He earned two Purple Hearts.

When Viet Nam came along he was anti war and advised I go to Canada.

My ping pong ball number came up #286, so the war never became an issue.

The last 3 men supporting the Viet Nam war were Nixon, Paul Harvey, and Billy Graham. I suspect they are in a very warm place today.



gotalife
gotalife

@skydog12 My Dad did the same thing.but pulled his gun on the thought of serving  From serving under Patton in the Battle of the Bulge to anti government and anti war in Vietnam. He hated government worse than our cons ever will..

omark
omark

My late father hated the army. Safe to say he rued the day he enlisted. Early December 1942, he was just weeks short of serving out his enlistment. He was counting off the days like a kid waiting for Christmas.

On the 7th his unit got the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Everybody was just standing there in stunned silence. Suddenly one of my father’s friends started chuckling. What the hell’s so funny, my father asked? It’s you Arthur, you’ve been bragging about getting out of here. You ain't going anywhere for a long time.

It was true, my father stayed with the army a bit longer than he’d planned. North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and finally Germany. He saw the world. Great food, if you’re into K-rations. First class accommodations, if you enjoy muddy holes in ground. Then there was the excellent pay, and all the glory.

December 6th, two years ago, my father joined that great caisson in the sky. Now his watch is through, we will not see their like again.

I miss you old man.

Starik
Starik

I'm a little older than you, Mr. Bookman, and had a different experience. 50 years ago I was finishing my sophomore year at Emory, with temporary security from a 2-S deferment like my contemporaries. My favorite war song, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die" came out a couple of years later. By the time I graduated in 1968, shortly after Tet 1968, nearly everybody understood the reality about the war, and had plans to go to graduate school to continue the 2-S deferment... but somebody spoiled our plans by eliminating the deferment for graduate students. Oh dear. What now?

I decided to join the Navy, but my eyes were too bad for any kind of entertaining officer job, and they wanted six years for enlisted, so I went on to grad school and waited to see what would happen. They got around to us in 1969, and scraped up all the graduate students and took us to a draft physical in Chicago. "Everybody here's a Category I" was the announcement to the group. We sort of amazed the staff with our test scores. I waited some more. I got the "greeting" from Mr. Nixon, another key event, and faced The Choice...try to escape? 

Everybody who could read or watch TV knew what was going on in Vietnam, but as a legacy from the "greatest generation" it was considered, especially in the South, a disgrace to be a draft-dodger, at least with the exception of the 2-S which was just a deferment. It would be good to duck the draft, but it had to be in a respectable way.  Divinity School? Nope, not a believer. Teach school? My best friend taught 8th grade for a year, then enlisted in the Army and ended up in Germany.  Teaching school was worse. National Guard worked, but you'd still have to spend 6 months on active duty, although Vietnam would be avoided.  The NG didn't do Vietnam.  It was, as one would expect, really hard to get in the National Guard, and to me it was a disgraceful way to dodge the draft - a step over a moral line in the sand.  Some other poor SOB would have to go, and draft dodging was a bad thing... serve your country and all that.


So, off I went to Fort Benning. It was miserable. The drill sergeants were all just back from the war and in addition to the usual torments of basic training, kept reminding us not to try to be John Wayne no matter what.  I liked the professional military men, and am sure they liked me although neither of us knew what I was doing in the Army.


The Army sent me, and others like me to language school.  Vietnamese language school. In the class were a lawyer, two PhD college professors (English...at a Canadian college! and one in the Classics. He could read Greek & Latin.)  At the end of 7 months, the Army sent half the class to Germany to do paperwork and half to Baltimore to become POW interrogators.  I went to Baltimore.  After Baltimore half the class went to Germany and half to Vietnam.


I found myself in the Central Highlands, reading captured documents and searching bloody clothing for items of intelligence value, along with some guard duty.  There was some danger from mortars, rockets & maybe sappers (North Vietnamese combat engineers) and lots of noise, especially at night. Not too bad. Had a dog. Everybody had a dog. Then my division was sent home from Vietnam, but the troops were transferred elsewhere.  I wound up in Saigon actually interrogating prisoners. I typically interrogated prisoners with a South Vietnamese Sergeant who knew English better than I knew Vietnamese.  None of us hated each other like we were supposed to, even the prisoners missing arms and legs and the 11-year old with grenade fragments in his belly along with a colostomy and no bag.  No Abu Ghraib stuff.  Too many draftees. 


The Saigon traffic was more dangerous than the rockets and mortars up North. My two years were up and I went back, got a standby seat in First Class, and was cursed and spit on by nobody.  No bags of dogcrap, no demonstrations, no nothing.  A few little medals for doing my job, an ability to swear fluently and that was it. That was my war...people with Military Occupational Specialty 11-B, the infantry had a different one. 


I think Al Gore had a similar experience. John Kerry didn't, but he volunteered for combat duty. They ran for President and lost. Bill Clinton, probably because he worked for Senator Fulbright, managed to combine law school with ROTC (You've got to be kidding).  George W. Bush, the Congressman's boy, got in the National Guard and got to fly obsolete fighter planes and had fun. We all had the same choice. The draft dodgers were elected President, which event I found more traumatic than the actual war, particularly since they beat a couple of fools who made the choice I did. Oh well. The absolute pinnacle was Bush starting a war that, though a lot smaller, was even stupider than the Vietnam War - and staffed by repeated tours by the National Guard, which saved Bush in 1968, and by sending the soldiers in our professional all-volunteer Army for tour after tour after tour and more. 

I won't vote for Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Trump. I didn't vote for Mr. Clinton, or George W. Bush. I did vote for Mr. Gore, and Mr. Kerry, and Mr. McGovern. 

I have vented, at least partially. 



Gmare
Gmare

Thankyou for sharing this, Starik.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

How cute- the 8 year old "my daddy is better and can beat up your daddy" Hint-  just because a thought comes in your brain a) don't feel compelled to sayit and b) it doesn't mean you are accurate. Lastly your dad appears to be a wiser  man than his daughter is a woman.

He was a better man than any one on this blog, and he would be the first to tell me not to say this last sentence


Kamchak
Kamchak

@Cupofjoe 

Hint-  just because a thought comes in your brain a) don't feel compelled to sayit

Just sayin'.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I wish to repost the following here, in tribute to my father, who is the singular person in my life who helped me to become the person I am today.  This was printed in the AJC, with a photo of myself as a toddler with my father in his WWII uniform, in the early 2000s, after his passing:


YOU WERE A GIANT OF A MAN IN MY EYES

My father passed away at 80 on February 15, 2000. Here is what I would tell my father if I had the chance:


I want you to know that I love you from the bottom of my heart; that I am proud of your accomplishments, your vision and creativity.


Above all, I want you to know that I am grateful to you for teaching me to be true to myself, to respect the power of the written word, to use whatever gifts I possess to bring light – not heat – into this world, and to love others unconditionally.


You were a giant of a man in my eyes.  If the world failed to see it, it was their loss.  I love you, Daddy.

===========================


He was a better man than any one on this blog, and he would be the first to tell me not to say this last sentence, but I speak truth even beyond my father's teachings to me.

omark
omark

The next time Rick Allen decides that he needs to preach to his colleagues, may I suggest some fresh material. Rick give us some old time religion. Let try a little Leviticus. Think life’s sacred? Not according to the big guy. He says you’re worth 20 shekels. So, next you want to give us your 20 shekels worth, try finding something relevant to the 21st century. Hate to break this to you, but the iron age ended a while back.

Leviticus chapter 27

Here's a summary:

Over 60 years old: Males 15 shekels, Females 10 shekels.

20 - 60 years old: Males 50 shekels, Females 30 shekels.

5 - 20 years old: Males 20 shekels, Females 10 shekels.

One month to 5 years old: Males 5 shekels, Females 3 shekels.

And babies (or fetuses) less than one month old are worth nothing at all.

You know the difference between God and a conservative? God doesn’t think she’s a Republican.

TomMiddleton
TomMiddleton

Reposted with better EQ (I think)...

Anyway, written during the George W. years, here's an original lament for a warrior friend passed but definitely not forgotten...

https://youtu.be/eDgW-Pw07f4

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Some who were here last week might recall that I was complaining about Audi using Iggy's Search and Destroy to sell cars.

I never articulated what it was, exactly, that I found disgusting. Yeah, part of it's just my cool-band youth obsession getting appropriated to appeal to the kind of w-nkers who would be their target market these days, right?

But the other part? It's not un-related to Jay's topic.

See, the Audi ad just includes two lines, about "using technology."

THE SONG IS ABOUT A VIETNAM VET WITH PTSD, for crying out loud. It's an ugly, terrifying song about a "forgotten boy," written and released at a time when the country was just beginning to examine this particular self-inflicted wound.

Anyway, end of rant. Here's the original (not the crap cover version you hear on the ad), give it a listen again and get PO'd all over again if that's what you like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDNzQ3CXspU

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Good one that I'd not heard before from Loretta, Jay. Thanks. 

TBS
TBS

Everyone have a safe holiday weekend.... Say a prayer (if you do that sort of thing) or even have a thought for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and of course the many vets still alive and kicking...  Be sure to thank any vets you know  (even if you don't agree with any given war or action by the government & military those folks have put their @ss on the line or being in the military had the potential to have to do it)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzFIDTs3WtI




St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@TBS this is mrsstsimons favorite song of all time, for similar reasons, that i will not put here.

JJsCottage
JJsCottage

I will remember those friends I lost in the Scud middle attack on Feb 26th 1991 during Operation Desert Shield. Many of the killed were reserve soldiers proudly serving their country. Please fly your flags this weekend in remembrance of those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

gotalife
gotalife

Good stuff Jay.


Cheers to the greatest generation on winning WWII and all those who have served this great country.

Starik
Starik

@gotalife Actually the Russians and the English did most of the defeating of Germany.  They had great generations too.