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Memorial day – 2014

I had a high draft number and so I didn’t serve in the military during the Vietnam War. Even though I opposed the war, I would have served if called because it would be unfair for me to ask someone else to risk their life for my principles. Today I remember my late father who served in World War II and honor all those who put themselves in danger to protect others.

Let freedom ring!

Photo credit: Obama Conspiracy Theories

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17 Responses to Memorial day – 2014

  1. avatar
    Jim May 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I was in the donut hole between the end of the draft and the start of registration. My late father was in the Navy and sitting on a troop transport ship off the coast of Japan when the bombs were dropped. They ended up transporting Germans back to Europe. He said those Germans did not travel well…YUCK! :D

    Thanks to all that served and are now serving. :salute:

  2. avatar
    Curious George May 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Many thanks to my grandfather (WWI), my uncle (WWII), my father (WWII), my father in-law (WWII & Korea) and my friend (Korea & Vietnam) for their military service to America. And to all others who served, many thanks for your service.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    I took the photo in the article in 2013. It has been altered to remove several body parts.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    The Russians have a bigger bell with a much bigger crack in it.

    http://rusticrecluse.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/tsar-bell-10.jpg

  5. avatar
    alg May 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    Thank you, Doc, for that thoughtful remembrance

  6. avatar
    CarlOrcas May 26, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Doc,

    Thank you for noting the day and its importance to us all.

  7. avatar
    Rickey May 26, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    I enlisted in the Navy in 1966, but it wasn’t an act of pure patriotism. I could have gone to college, but my parents decided where I could apply and where I could attend, and I wanted to get out from under their authority. When I turned 18 during the spring of my senior year in high school I told them that I had decided to join the Navy. This was, of course, prior to the draft lottery, so the legal choices for men were (a) go to college and keep the student deferment, (b) lose the student deferment and wait to be drafted (a short wait in those days), or (c) enlist in the military branch of your choice. Of course, some people fled to Canada and some figured out ways to be classified 4-F.

    I signed up a week after I graduated high school, although I didn’t actually go to boot camp until the following January. I went to communications school in Norfolk, Virginia, followed by 18 months in the Philippines and then two years on an aircraft carrier. I was never gung-ho about the military, but I picked up a few medals along the way and made a half-dozen lifelong friends with whom I still keep in touch. And I lived to tell about it, which makes me one of the fortunate ones.

  8. avatar
    The Magic M May 27, 2014 at 4:16 am #

    I never served because I’m extremely short-sighted (my ability level therefore was T5, and only T1 and sometimes T2 are drafted). To my father’s dismay who hoped I’d have an Air Force career just like him.

  9. avatar
    Keith May 27, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I totally mucked up my student deferment renewal and got reclassified 1A. My lottery number was somewhere around 310 if I recall correctly. However, just as I got reclassified, the authority to draft ran out. The eligibility clock, however did not stop. For the first 2 months of my eligibility, they couldn’t draft me even if they wanted to. By the time the authority to draft was restored, they didn’t really have a hope of getting to my number before my eligibility clock ran out.

    I never had to face the quandary of submitting to the draft, moving to Canada, or going to jail. I like to think I wouldn’t have submitted to the draft. Last August I visited some of the tunnels outside Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). I’m small, and I expect if I was in a unit working those tunnels, I’d be one of the first ones in. Those guys didn’t have much of a life expectancy.

    The High School I went to covered a lot of the disadvantaged side of town. I know for a fact that some of my high school friends didn’t have the option of student deferment or Canada. Many of them enlisted before they were drafted. They went. Many didn’t come back, or didn’t come back whole. Go Warriors. I love you guys.

    The scurrilous myth continues, to this day, that returning Viet Nam Vets experienced widespread disrespect from anti-war protesters even though there is quite literally no documented evidence of that. There are certainly anecdotes of individuals being called names by ignorant people, and WWII vets denying them status (locked out of the VFW for instance). But as someone on the extreme fringe of the anti-war movement, my experience was that individual soldiers were well respected, even honored, for the hardships they endured. Everyone has to make choices for themselves, and the circumstances that surround us when we are faced with those choices are different for everyone. I honor those who chose to fight because they found it to be their patriotic duty. I honor those who chose to fight because the found it to be the only way out of an abusive family or grinding poverty or just plain boredom. At the same time, I honor also those who found going to war was not an option for them. Finally, I am thankful that my circumstances did not force me to have to make that choice.

    It seems to me that unlike those on the right, those on the left were well able to “separate the war from the warrior”. We hated the war, and honored the warrior. Those on the right sought to ‘put it behind us’ by forgetting about the war and those whose lives were shattered by it. Perhaps the ‘greatest generation’ polluted the water by insisting that the Viet Nam War was not a ‘real war’, but just a ‘police action’; perhaps the VFW, for just one example, was just trying to preserve the status quo of their current members. (I would hate to think that perhaps they noticed a distinct demographic change in the Viet Nam Vets). Whatever the case, Viet Nam Veterans were never, ever, dealt the same benefit cards as veterans of past wars and today’s veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are getting similar mistreatment.

    Those forgetful hypocrites, or their descendants, are still there today, trying to disrespect and dishonor, not only the warriors of the past generation, but those of today. The Congressional hypocrites, playing politics with the lives and wellbeing of veterans that they sent to war, to be killed, to be maimed both physically and mentally, are immoral and disgraceful.

    Lest we forget.

  10. avatar
    jd reed May 27, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    I am in no way connected with the Veterans of Foreign War but isn’t it true that it relented and admitted Vietnam vets to membership?

  11. avatar
    Bonsall Obot May 27, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    jd reed:
    I am in no way connected with the Veterans of Foreign War but isn’t it true that it relented and admitted Vietnam vets to membership?

    Of course they did. By the late ’80s, they were in charge of my local chapter. Someone did the math and realized the VFW would cease to be a viable entity without them.

  12. avatar
    Sef May 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    None of my HS class were lost in VN, per se, but a couple of my best friends served honorably and rose to high rank, but succumbed because of problems contracted in their service. I honor them and all others so situated.

    There is a poppy on my visor mirror.

  13. avatar
    Rickey May 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Keith:

    The scurrilous myth continues, to this day, that returning Viet Nam Vets experienced widespread disrespect from anti-war protesters even though there is quite literally no documented evidence of that. There are certainly anecdotes of individuals being called names by ignorant people, and WWII vets denying them status (locked out of the VFW for instance). But as someone on the extreme fringe of the anti-war movement, my experience was that individual soldiers were well respected, even honored, for the hardships they endured.

    One of the enduring myths is that soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat upon when they deplaned at San Francisco International Airport, even though returning soldiers didn’t fly into SFO. They flew into Travis Air Force Base outside of San Francisco.

    I was in uniform in various airports in 1969 and 1970 – San Francisco, JFK, LAX, San Diego, and New Orleans, and I was never subjected to any harassment. Researchers have found no evidence of any contemporary news stories about returning soldiers, sailors or Marines being scorned by protestors. The first stories didn’t begin to appear until years after the Vietnam war ended.

  14. avatar
    J.D. Sue May 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Rickey: Researchers have found no evidence of any contemporary news stories about returning soldiers, sailors or Marines being scorned by protestors.

    —-
    It is another one of those myths that makes no sense. Protesters weren’t protesting against soldiers; the protest was against a war and draft that forcefully took our young men to Viet Nam–many to die.

  15. avatar
    Jim May 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    J.D. Sue: —-
    It is another one of those myths that makes no sense.Protesters weren’t protesting against soldiers; the protest was against a war and draft that forcefully took our young men to Viet Nam–many to die.

    I grew up in a college town near campus…we had protestors and rioters come past our home. Only got 1 broken window out of the whole time. I felt most were protesting the draft and the possibility they may be called up after they graduated more than anything else…especially with all the blood and guts being shown on the news every night. Not all were lucky like Cheney and Bush.

  16. avatar
    Dave May 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    There was an incident in 2011 where Suffolk Univ. professor Michael Avery responded to an email soliciting care packages for the troops with an anti-troop rant. At this point I can’t find any credible sources for the content of that rant. I found a post at the blog of wingnut talk radio host Michael Graham with a lengthy purported quote from the email. I can’t guarantee that it is authentic, but it does pretty much match what I recall from the time.

    I just bring this up as an example that this kind of thinking exists. I find the Avery’s views on this subject completely indefensible, both morally and intellectually.

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I recall some negative reactions to troops related to the My Lai Massacre. I don’t know if any actual soldiers were harassed because of it.

    I wrote a piece for my college paper on that, saying, as best I recall, that one should expect things like that in war. War does things to people and they do things in war that they would not normally do.

    Or put another way, everyone is a victim in war. (That may be a meaningless platitude. I don’t know.)

    J.D. Sue: It is another one of those myths that makes no sense. Protesters weren’t protesting against soldiers; the protest was against a war and draft that forcefully took our young men to Viet Nam–many to die.

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