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
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.