Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Peter's Views from Vietnam
I ran across a comment on a blog from a Vietnam Veteran named Peter a few months ago. He expressed remorse about not stepping up to the plate until a few months ago, to express his outrage at the statements of John Kerry in the Senate Hearings in 1971. He posted an eloquent, first person story, of what some men he served with did, in order that others may play fast and loose with the truth. Those men of which he spoke, did not leave Vietnam alive so many years ago. Peter has some more words I found tonight I think are worth sharing. They are posted below. I think he needs to write a book of his experiences. Read it and see the passion this man has from a truly searing experience in his young life: Further, it doesn't take long to spot a bogus 'veteran'. Many of those telling the lurid stories had never spent one day wearing Uncle's suit. Others never set foot in Southeast Asia. Poseurs misuse the military jargon. I've been out of uniform for three and a half decades I still have to force myself to, when I start walking, step off with my right foot, stepping off with the left foot is ingrained in Boot Camp. Every infantry type I ever saw who spent time in the Southeast Asian War Games has little round scars spread about from infected leech and insect bites, we called them 'gook sores'. You can tell me that The Hee-row didn't know that he was lying through his teeth. I won't believe you but you can tell me. He knew it then, he knows it now. Kerry stood over the open graves of some fifty-eight thousand Americans, some of whom I served alongside, and pissed on their bodies. He pissed on every one of those neatly folded flags that were all that mothers and fathers, wives and children and brothers and sisters had left to hold. He is now trying to wrap himself in those flags. It will not work, I, along with many who served with far more distinction than me, shall not allow it. It's bad enough that our children were taught those lies as fact in their history classes, I was able to refute them. What about the children of the dead? Who told them that their Daddy wasn't really a murdering rapist? What about the parents of the dead? Most of those parents are gone now. How many of those parents died still wondering if those accusations about their sons could be true? Those men, those children, those parents, they deserved better. May the seventh of this year marked the thirty-ninth anniversary of the first man in my platoon to die in that war, he fell off the net climbing off the troopship and was crushed between the ship and the landing craft. He never got ashore. Over my two and a half tours there were many other young men that never grew old. Young men that I sweated with during the dry seasons and shivered with in the monsoons. Men that shared the joy of a letter from home and the tears of the Dear John. Men who helped carry my load when I turned an ankle on a long hump as I did when it happened to them. Men that I loved like a brother and men that I could barely stand. Men that for years after that war used to visit me in my sleep. Men that I thought had finally stopped visiting, that constant prayer had allowed to rest comfortably are back. Civilians mostly don't understand those visits. They're visiting again, those men. They want something from me, just one thing. "Tell them" they say. I try. Shall I try to tell you about the young man who's last act on this earth was to put his body over a wounded man who lives today because his body stopped the mortar shrapnel? His name was Steve. He was a Corpsman, he joined so that he could go to medical school on the GI Bill. He never became a Doctor, he saved a lot of lives. Shall I tell you of Mike? A farm boy having his Big Adventure before he settled in to a life of growing things. A piece of shrapnel hit a white phosphorus grenade on his web gear, there's no way to put that stuff out. After it finally burned out pieces of him kept falling off as we were trying to get him into the body bag. He was twenty. Every day he wrote a letter to his mom and another to his girlfriend. We lied when we wrote that letter, told her that he died instantly from an artillery shell. How about Jack? A lifer, veteran of Korea. A Viet kid was out in the middle of a VC minefield, this father of three bled to death after both legs were blown off trying to retrieve that kid. He had made the promotion list and had orders sending him back to take the course to be a First Sergeant. Three weeks left in the field. There are many more stories like this, some who's names I know, some, like the pilot of the medevac bird killed going into a hot LZ because he knew that there were men that would die if they didn't get to the hospital, I never learned his name. The crew chief pulled his body away from the controls so the copilot could fly the bird. Our men lived. Those are John Kerry's war criminals. Those are the men that I have spent my life trying, and mostly failing, to live up to. They deserve a better spokesman than me, someone famous, heroic and eloquent. I hope they get such a spokesman, I pray for it. They deserve a spokesman who can speak of them without tears. I only know that the young men, and now women, wearing the uniforms must be protected from this man, John Kerry. It's not just that he isn't fit to command them, he is not fit to speak their names.