Believe me, it is not by choice. Today, it just started raining real hard, and it made me think about hiding out in a Conex Box for two days in Phu bi when I was living in a cemetery next the CB‘s compound during a monsoon rain in South Vietnam toward the end of 1968.
Why? Why after all these years does that jump out at me?
The other morning I was sitting out in my vegetable garden just looking at the beans that were just coming up out of the ground the last few days. The birds were singing, the sun was coming up, and as I glanced at the sun through the trees, I started to get scared for just a minute. I had to remember where I was, and more importantly where I wasn‘t.
I just hate to be around playgrounds. The high pitched screaming of little girls having fun makes me remember coming around a corner in Hue, just as a young girl discovered the dead body of her mother, and she had that same high pitched scream. It looked like her mother had been dead for a long time. I have no idea of how she was killed, but she was not the only body lying there.
Decades later, and it seems as though every day that time in the war zone jumps out at me. It might be just for a minute, or it might bum me out for hours, but I know it is right there waiting for something to trigger it.
Yeah, I know I‘m not the only one. There are thousands if not millions of veterans who have their own memories springing out, and it is never good. I have done all the VA counseling and in-house and day treatment programs they have, and while they helped with some things, they did nothing for taking away the memories.
War really sucks. I used to think that “good wars” would be different, and being a Marine on some South Pacific island would be different than being a Marine in Vietnam. But now, after talking to so many WWII Marines, I know it makes no difference. I asked those guys if they at least felt better because they won their war, and they were actually protecting our homeland. Most said the horror of war does not allow those fighting it to feel like a winner—survivor, yes, winner, no.
So, I look out the window, and the rain is making everything look lush and green, and I remember all that stuff is in the past. At least until tomorrow.
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