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Title: Memorial Day
Source: LZ Memories BBS - "Always Green Smoke!"
URL Source: [None]
Published: May 24, 2020
Author: LZ Memories BBS - "Always Green Smoke!"
Post Date: 2020-05-24 16:58:46 by boonie rat
Keywords: None
Views: 404
Comments: 2

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is their day, isn't it? It is supposed to be the day a grateful nation pauses to quietly thank the more than one million men and women who have died in military service to their country since the Revolutionary War.

Or is it the day the beach resorts kick into high gear for the summer season, the day the strand is covered by fish-belly white people basting themselves in coconut oil, the day the off-season rates end and the weekend you can't get in a seaside seafood restaurant with anything less than a one hour wait.

Or is is one of the biggest shopping center sales days of the year, a day when hunting for a parking space is the prime sport for the holiday stay-at-homers?

Or is it the weekend when more people will kill themselves on the highways than any other weekend and Highway Patrol troopers work overtime picking up the pieces?

I think the men and women who died for us would understand what we do with their day. I hope they would, because if they wouldn't, if they would have insisted that it be a somber, respectful day of remembrance, then we have blown it and dishonored their sacrifice.

I knew some of those who died, and the guys I knew would have understood.

They liked a sunny beach and a cold beer and a hot babe in a black bikini, too. They would have enjoyed packing the kids, the inflatable rafts, the coolers, and the suntan lotion in the car and heading for the lake. They would have enjoyed staying at home and cutting the grass and getting together with some friends and cooking some steaks on the grill, too.

But they didn't get the chance. They blew up in the Marine Barracks in Beirut and died in the oily waters of the Persian Gulf. They caught theirs at the airstrip in Grenada in the little war everyone laughed at. They bought the farm in the Ia Drang Valley and on Heartbreak Ridge, Phu Bai and at Hue. They froze at the Chosin Reservoir and were shot at the Pusan Perimeter. They drowned in the surf at Omaha Beach or fell in the fetid jungles of Guadalcanal. They were at the Soame and at San Juan Hill and at Gettysburg and at Cerro Gordo and at Valley Forge.

They couldn't be here with us this weekend, but I think they would understand that we don't spend the day in tears and heart-wrenching memorials. They wouldn't want that. Grief is not why they died. They died so we could go fishing. They died so another father could hold his laughing little girl over the waves. They died so another father could toss a baseball to his son in their backyard while the charcoal is getting white. They died so another buddy could drink a beer on his day off. They died so a family could get in the station wagon and go shopping and maybe get some ice cream on the way home.

They won't mind that we have chosen their day to have our first big outdoor party of the year. But they wouldn't mind, either, if we took just a second and thought about them.

Some will think of them formally, of course. Wreaths will be laid in small, sparsely attended ceremonies in military cemeteries and at monuments at state capitols and in small town's squares. Flags will fly over the graves, patriotic words will be spoken and a few people there will probably feel a little anger that no more people showed up. They'll think no one else remembers.

But we do remember. We remember Smitty and Chico and Davey and the guys who died. We remember the deal we made: If we buy it, we said, drink a beer for me.

I'll do it for you, guys. I'll drink that beer for you today, and I'll sit on that beach for you, and I'll check out the girls for you and, just briefly, I'll think of you. I won't let your memory spoil the trip but you'll be on that sunny beach with me today. I will not mourn your deaths this Memorial Day, my friends. Rather, I'll celebrate the life you gave me.

This Bud's for you, brother!

... For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother. # Origin: LZ Memories BBS - "Always Green Smoke!" (19:100/105)

For "Boogie Man" and Matthew

Boonie Rat

MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66

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#1. To: All (#0)

"The Wall Within"

From Paul Bylin

Most real men, hanging tough in their early 40's would like the rest of us to think they could really handle one more war, and two more women, but I know better. You have no more lies to tell, and I have no more dreams to believe. I've seen it in your face. I'm sure you've noticed it in mine. That thousand yard stare that does not look out, it looks in at the unspeakable, unchangeable truth of our war. The eyes see what the mind believes, and all that I know of war, all that I have heard of peace, has me looking over my shoulder for that one bullet that still has my name on it. Circling round and round till I break from cover, and it takes its best last shot. In the absence of time, the accuracy of guilt is assured.

Since Vietnam I have run a zigzag course across America. On the grassy urban knolls of America I have seen an Army of combat veterans, hidden amongst the trees. Veterans of all our recent wars. Each a part of the best of his generation. Waiting in his mind for peace. I have seen them in the quiet dignity of their aloneness, always at the edges of the clearing, patrolling as perimeter guards. Each in his own way looks out to the park that he might see in to the truth. I remember you and me picnicking in the rain on the Ho Chi Minh trail, eating the limas and the beans from the can. Driving hard bargains with each other for the c-ration goodies we opened like Christmas presents. And we would happily wash it all down with strawberry Kool-aid. Straight from the canteen, anything to keep from choking on the taste of purified water. But now I feel all the while, I'll never be able to forgive myself for enjoying your company so much... or being so good at the game we played. We were the best.

Sometimes when I'm angry it seems like all this country has to offer are the same 20 words they hand out to our heroes. Words like peace, sacrifice, war, young, supreme, duty, service, honor, country, nation, men, and men, and men again. Sometimes God, and don't forget women, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, and freedom.

Then the anger passes, and reverence takes its place, Those are good words.. noble, and sincere. It seems there is no alternative to life, but there may be to war... Strange. I have observed there is no monument to the survivors, no statue of those who lived to fight again, or perhaps to speak of peace. No where yet a wall for the living. It's no wonder guilt is the sole survivor of war. We don't celebrate life after combat. Our concept of glory lives neither in victory or in peace, but in death.

I stand here looking up at the night sky wondering how much better this world must look from up there. From the moon only one man made object is visible to the naked eye, the Great Wall of China. A tribute to man's paranoia. It's strange. Because we're a lot closer, and the only man made object we can see is "The Wall" in Washington, D. C. The veterans pledge to remember. There is one other wall of course. One we never speak of. One we never see, one that separates memory from madness. In a place no one offers flowers. It's the Wall Within.... we permit no visitors. Mine looks like any other brick wall. It stands in the ghetto of my soul. That part of me that reason avoids for fear of dirtying its clothes, and which my sorrow and my rage hurl bottles at my passing youth. You know the wall I mean?

The Wall in D. C. haunts me. I realize I have got my first glimpse of the Wall Within. The tears are real. We don't show the Wall Within to the public. No one with our savvy would expose themselves like that. Suicide loiters in our subconscious, and bears a grudge. We must be wary..On the Wall Within are all the other casualties of the Vietnam War. Our loved ones. The ones the government didn't put in uniform but died anyway. Some because they stopped being who they always were, others because they did die...true casualties of The Vietnam War. My Grandma turned on the 6 o'clock news one night...and died of a heart attach. Her name is on the Wall Within. You starting to get the idea? Our list may be different, the Wall Within adds up the true cost of war. We can recite 58,012 names in our sleep...even the day after they update it, but how many of those KIA's had kids? Whose wall do they go on? And what about us vets that came home to our wives and kids only to divorce her, because there wasn't anyone else to be angry at? And how many dimes have you long distance fathers dropped into the slot, just to hear how another man was raising your kid?

Yea, I hear ya hollering...Put it on the Wall...Damn right it's on the Wall!!

You remember, you told a three year old Daddy loved him, and mommy loved him, and nothing would ever change? But it did anyway. Not because you didn't love him...but because you loved him too much to be a part-time Daddy. You couldn't explain it to him, because you sure can't explain it to you.

What the hell... You came home a 22 year old machine-gunner, what were you supposed to do? You did the best you could do. Put it on the Wall... Want to hear the dedication to my Wall Within? It reads: This wall is dedicated to mothers, fathers, and most of all dreams of the men and women who risked it all in Vietnam, while you continued to loose them during and after the war with less of a chance for a parade, and no chance at all for an explanation...

You lost them to bullets, internment, drugs, suicide, alcohol, jail, post-traumatic stress, and divorce. But never ever did any of you lose them to the truth which is now being shared across this great nation in such courage... It's like has never been seen on a battlefield.......

Personally I always expect the minimum of anything from people paid from the public purse. They normally adopt a herd mentality which as any one who has had to sit through a meeting organized by these people will no doubt know will start at the lowest imaginable level and by the process of wallpapering the butt, buck passing, and outsourcing responsibility rapidly develops a spiral decent to the depths of inanity not often seen in the commercial world. -

boonie rat  posted on  2020-05-24   17:32:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: boonie rat, All (#1)

Saw something during WWII, lived that "something" during Korean war. Saw that "something" during Vietnam horror.

That "something" was a truism, a given, namely that those that went and paid the price were chosen to fight and die, by society, because they were expendable and non essential. If one refused they were dragged away.

McNaamaras Morons, of the Johnson Vietnam shame, was the most egregious of all.

Cynicom  posted on  2020-05-24   18:15:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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