Tuesday, 28 May 2013


It has been 44 years since my time at war.  It is as warm a memory as if it were only yesterday.
Since then Memorial Day has had more meaning for me every year.  The spirit of this special dedication has become a part of every day. 
As a returning soldier when America did not welcome us home, this day was not a special day for many of us because of the hateful greetings received as we stepped back on our soil.  As time has changed that despicable period the pain has dissipated. Our soldiers are now respected by most Americans as a special class.  It has not been long since I was first told, “Thank you for your service” at which time I could not hold back a tear.  It was so therapeutic to hear those words after so long feeling unappreciated.  It is hoped that Americans will continue to show the returning vets the appreciation they deserve.
This year found me doing nothing but appreciating the quiet.  It is amazing how the stillness and quiet of doing nothing can be so refreshing.  There was a time there was no refuge from the noise and compulsion to keep moving.  There was no relief from the pain of seeing brothers lost and brothers forever disfigured not to mention the mental agony.  As a young man the rhetorical question was, “What could be worse than dying?”.  It did not take long to get the answer.
Now I am allowed, by the grace of God and the sacrifice of younger men and women, to do nothing more than remember.  There is some subliminal guilt that others did more and sacrificed more but we are told there is no measure for how much sacrifice is enough.  If one does as much as he or she is able there is no reason for guilt.  That, however, does not ameliorate the feeling “Why am I so fortunate?”.  Then there is this special day and the spirit that tells me why there should be no guilt and why there should be unconditional gratitude.
These Americans, from the time of the American Revolution until today, who left home to defend it knew what the cost could be but they go to fight because they know the objective is worth the risk and the loss is unacceptable.
Not to morally separate the veterans of wars from all other Americans, I have to say I feel a special kindred with them that can only be understood by those who have faced war in all its ugly gloriousness.  I am proud to have been one of all those through the history of this magnificent nation who offered to give all to protect us.  Not having given all, I can only rest now and savor the days I have left.
God bless our veterans and God bless America!
United States Air Force
two tours
Republic of South Viet Nam
extra-territorial operations, electronics,
jet engines, and combat in recovery operations
decorated and honourably discharged
no pardon, no amnesty needed

curriculum vitae and present pursuits -
upper right corner of A Gringo in Rural Mexico Blog