14 November 2005

Viet Vets

Well, last Friday was veterans' day.  Sunday was the 13th and it was the day that the viet nam vets' memorial (the wall) was erected on the capital's mall in 1982.  On both days, I meant to write something special for my dad and the men I grew up with, who are his friends and viet vets too.

Mostly the reason I didn't was because there are so many mixed feelings, strong opinions, and odd attitudes that I wasn't sure how to approach the issue.  I know that my father joined the army (paratrooper) because he thought it was the right thing to do.  Shortly after being in-country, he discovered that the government (ours) was portraying the war one way, while it seemed to be an entirely different sort of war in reality.

My father became very soured on our gov, establishments in general.  In the mid-80s, he worked hard with some other viet vets in the area (PA) to raise funds to be able to attend Chicago's Welcome Home parade that was being given in April 86 for the Viet Vets.  It took quite some time for my father to get adequate treatment for various problems which stemmed from his tour of duty.  Mostly, the government declares its ignorance of the potential harm Agent Orange and other pesticides and chemicals used during warfare can cause.  However, the companies which produce those chemicals can show that they sent memos and other notices to the government addressing the harm that exposure can cause.  So it's no wonder to me that my father has just cause to not be so trusting of our gov's claimsmaking rhetoric.

I wish I could tell you that my father is well-taken-care-of now.  He's not.  He's still dealing with various health problems.  In addition, dealing with the VA is difficult to say the least.  I cannot tell you the number of times my father's records have been lost.  I know he isn't exclusively special in that regard, but that doesn't excuse anything.  It makes the situation all the more appalling, to tell the truth.

I'm proud of my father.  My parents have raised me to be a critical thinker.  In my opinion, they did a good job.  My dad had lots going on, while I was growing up, and yet he always made time to talk with me.

He has his own demons to fight and I can't really help with that, other to lend a listening ear.  My father is one of my most important heros.  I hope he lives to see many more years so that I can enjoy him more and more while he is here on this earth.


  1. Thanks for commenting in As I Am. Remember, you can write in your journal any time about anything. Thanks!

  2. This was painful to read, Debra. I could so easily have been in your father's shoes, but Bonnie and I lucked out and my number was not picked. It is shameful that the government sends our young men and women off to be maimed and slaughtered, and then attempts to ignore its responsibility to the soldiers who manage to make it back alive. Politicians are one of our least favorite life forms.
    We'd say more, but ...
    Bon & Mal


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!