Moscow, ID, USA
I have never known a day before Vietnam. I am twenty-eight years
My father would not fight that fight. He stayed at home. He wouldnšt
fight scabs for his union, he wouldnšt fight for his country, he
wouldnšt fight for his god. His god had asked him not to. I know
my father as a proud man who wouldnšt war.
I grew up with men around that had killed. The first and last
time I went hunting was with a slightly rounding, large, man who
made his money in orthodentia. We were poor hunters. He was a medic
and had used a rifle and had seen the jungle. He disappeared for
a couple of weeks every now and then. The last time he did, they
found him outside of Las Vegas.
I knew other men that had been to war. My grandfather, who eked
out a poor living building delicate dollhouses, ornate furniture,
and reshaping black metal on vehicles that were used to harvest
the forest, lived a life of rough joy, replete with potatoe salad,
vehicles constantly in need of repair, and extended camping trips.
He was a frog-man in the Pacific in World War II.
Then therešs Scarey Jerry, the local bogey-man of Libby, Montana.
It was known that he carried many guns in his aged pick-up truck.
He was a Vietnam Vet, that always meant a lot of things. One day
he drove his truck through town while it was on fire. They shot
During war games that boys play, we often used a celuloid blueprint.
Rambo and Chuck Norris spent a lot of time killing bad guys in black
pajamas with AK-47šs. They were called gooks, and they were usually
the minions of the cheif bad guy, a commie.
I donšt know the bad guys of boyšs games anymore. Neither do I
know the bad guys of the big games. We seem to have lost them. Wešre
using money instead of bodies.
Lately, I see fewer pictures of Americans at war overseas. Sometimes
I see photos of armor-clad warriors on a street, or surrounding
someonešs house, or in a firefight. That usually turns out to be
within our borders. I didnšt learn about Kent State until I was
in my mid-teens.
Išm not sure how Vietnam has specifically affected my life. It
made a big splash in our country, the ripples are still spreading.
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