I was born in November 1961. My father had been an MP and a soldier in the islands of the Pacific theater of World War 2. In all of the years that I had to talk with him, he never once told me anything about the war. He divorced my Mom in 1966 and I saw him very little for the rest of his life. The few times that we had to talk until his death in 2001 I never asked him about the war and he didn’t volunteer any information. Today is Memorial Day 2021, almost twenty years after his death.
Life and death are what we live with and it doesn’t matter if you have been involved in a war or have only read about it…the effects that it has on men and women who have been a part of it are permanent.
I was an EMT/Firefighter for five years and an EMT for ten. It has taken nearly thirty years for much of what I saw at suicides and car wrecks and at the scene of a fire where people young and old lost their lives or took them to get to the point that I can write some of it down. During the years of working as an EMT, I had to compartmentalize what I saw or had to handle during my shift so I could do my job. Sometimes, those compartments break open and the memories come back as nightmares or episodes of PTSD.
When I was in my teens, around ‘73 or ‘74, I was afraid that the war in Vietnam was going to last long enough that I would be drafted into it. It was a fear that I carried but I didn’t let anyone know about it. This is the first time I have written about it. I watched a very realistic movie today called “We were soldiers” and it was about the first engagement in the Vietnam war on November 14, 1964…a Sunday.
I am proud to be an American by birth but I am glad that the war didn’t last long enough to drag me and my schoolmates into it. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercy for that. I also pray that You will give Your comfort, strength, and grace to all of those who lost loved ones or friends in that war as well as all of the wars we have been involved in since then. I want to extend my thanks to all of the families and the survivors of these wars and thank you all for your service to our country.