Military Enthusiasts Re-Enact Vietman .. Why For God's Sake ?

First let me say it's been a month since I posted anything here on ePluribus, mostly because my other blogs, including a couple of new ones have kept me quite busy and I really hadn't found any subject matter to lend itself worth some commentary here.


That is until now.


When coming on the computer in the wee hours of this morning my attention was drawn to the headline of an Associated Press article about fellas who like to re-enact military battles and missions, and are now starting to do Vietnam.


As the headline above says, why for God's Sake ?


The Vietnam War was a dark period for us boomers, none of which was the blame of the brave men and women, actually very young late-age teenagers in many a case, who were sucked into a no win situation by three different White House Administrations.


Throw into the mix the times of the Vietnam War here in the US, with political assassinations, bigotry and hatred in the South, and overall political unrest, I for one care not to revisit the dark side of the 60's, and I certainly cannot understand why men would want to "re-live" the tragedy of Vietnam. There are some ghosts better left alone.


When I was in high school, 1968 - 1972, for three years I was in the Air Force ROTC at Danbury High. On Fridays we wore our uniforms, and I can remember, even though these were ROTC cadet uniforms, but because the uniforms represented the US Air Force, being called baby killer, being spate at and more than once getting into verbal arguments which easily could have escalated into violence.


And that was in school. It wasn't much better out in the community of Danbury either.


Every year we went to the sub base in New London, CT, and I thought very seriously of joining the Navy after high school so as to get into sub duty.


With the draft still in progress at the time, things were getting progressively worse in Vietnam in 1971 when I turned 18, and when it became my turn for the draft lottery, I "chicken out" and instead of signing up for the Navy and going in after high school, I took my chances with the lottery.


I can still remember watching the drawing on Channel 5 in New York City, much like watching a lottery drawing today, with the ping pong balls spinning around and dropping one by one, with either the date of birth or corresponding number, to be honest I forget which, and seeing where my birthday would fit into the draft call.


There was a break point number, I want to say 250, it could have been higher or lower, doesn't matter, where dob's after that number were unlikely to be called up for the draft unless we pretty much we're in WWIII by that time, and it wouldn't have mattered, as we all would have had a greater chance to come home in body bags. And my number was so high, that I needed not to worry about being drafted.


So it has been with a great deal of personal guilt, even after all these years, that I "chicken out" while many my age were either drafted or God knows why, enlisted, and either came back in a body bag or never came home at all.


In 1975 I went to Arlington National Cemetary and happened to be there when a brave solider, man or woman I do not know, was being laid to rest.


As a watched from afar, I thought to myself, there but for the Grace of God, it could have been me.


And the tears I briefly shed were not tears of grief for the lost brave soul, but guilt of the living soul bearing witness.


To this day, I can not stand to hear the sound of a Huey helicopter, as they use to fly over our house in formation to and fro to the base in Newburgh, NY.


Today, and for the past ten plus years, before it was popular to do so, when I see a service man or woman, either in uniform or out, sometimes finding in the course of conversation that they are home on leave, I thank them for their service to their Country.


It's the very least I can do.


 

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I think I was odd for a teen of those years because, no matter that my brother did the March on Washington and fought major skirmishes at home, with my Dad, I might have been too young to understand how to feel disgust based on principle. 

I can very easily get there now but 'drafted' didn't seem to leave lots of choice to this kid.  Later I better understood that resisting it wasn't done easily, either.

At whatever level, I always had a sense that was like yours, thanks for that reminder.

Today, and for the past ten plus years, before it was popular to do so, when I see a service man or woman, either in uniform or out, sometimes finding in the course of conversation that they are home on leave, I thank them for their service to their Country.

It's the very least I can do.

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"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson