Now a days you could say the same about a woman’s war. All these years later, you would think I would be able to store the war in the back of my head, and I do try to do that, but on some days it marches to the front, and nothing I have been able to learn to do will get it back to a safe place.
I don’t know what triggers it; maybe it is the way the sun was today or some song I heard on the radio. Heck, maybe it is always out front and I am able to keep busy enough to cover those thoughts with daily routines.
I know I’m not the only one thinking about Vietnam tonight here in Minnesota. This week three men from here were killed in Iraq. There was Staff Sergeant David Day, 1st Lt. Jason Timmerman, and Sergeant Jesse Lhotka. All were National Guardsmen with the 151st Field Artillery.
When people get killed in a war and you hear about it, all those people you knew who were killed in your war come rushing to the front of your thoughts, almost like they’re saying, "don’t you forget about me." You never can forget about them. War becomes a life sentence, and you are forced to relive parts of it until the day you die.
I guess I could have gone over to someone’s house and talked to get my mind off the subject, but it would all be back when I got home. It is almost like the war wants its time with you and if you give it to it, it will let you alone, for a little while.
I have watched as people tried to drink it away with alcohol or even tried to shoot it down with smack. Most of them learned that dying was an easier way to get away from it. The booze and the heroin were a shield to hide behind, but after a while, it would creep right in no matter how wasted they got.
Those people in Washington who send us off to war have no idea of what they are inflicting on us. They always give away those pretty medals with their colorful ribbons and think those medals will somehow make your time in combat seem worthwhile. Some of my medals are on this little shelf above my head as I write. I have never worn them in public; I have never worn them in private either. I don’t know why I keep them.
Jim Glaser [send him mail], a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and Commander of VFW Post 3869, works to educate the American public on the consequences of war. His personal website is James-Glaser.com.