Spent last evening at dinner hour at our annual veterans dinner, put on by VFW and VA. Some wore their old uniforms some did not. Some were “right winger”, some like my son and I, were to the political left that “roadkill” despises in his total ignorance. My son an I were among a smaller percentage who are also members of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), me after only three years active during ’Nam, he, 13 years active duty including Bosnia, Iraq, and elsewhere in the field with five years attached to the most “elite” unit in the Navy.
Interesting that among the group are my friends, and comrades who did not have “hangups” with race, creed, or political leanings when we served a nation of ALL people, some giving little even in “service”, while others gave much more, and as it is VETERANS DAY, NOT “Memorial Day”, it was for those still living, many with thoughts, and memories, and scars, that literally 99% of Americans today, will not, and CAN NOT, ever comprehend!
The “horrors” of war cannot be truly felt in a book, TV show, or “heroic” movie depiction, though the first minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” might come closest visually, it does not even then provide what is for many of us, the strongest sensation, and memory, the SMELL of war, and its aftermath.
“Platoon” by Oliver Stone was the first move I saw in “surround sound”, and the experience was, well, “interesting”.. It was also the first move that ever made me SMELL Viet Nam again.
Which is to say, regardless “political viewpoint”, this is a day for us who remember, and those “outsiders” in the civilian world to recognize devotion to country, despite the quality of “leadership”, and respect those who served, and survived, and say, NOT “thank you”, but “WELCOME HOME”.