Patrick Keily, Vietnam veteran
Hawthorne,, WI, USA
I grew up in a small Wisconsin community and had never been more than 100 miles from home until I entered college. I had a difficult time adjusting to college life but more importantly, I did not have a high school education that could compete with most other students. My high school was small and was run as a necessary evil in that no effort was made to teach beyond that required by the state. I was therefor, not prepared for a full student course load. If I had been able to carry a reduced load the first year or so, I think I could have been able to do well. As it was, anything less than full time meant being drafted. I struggled for 2 years, dropped out and joined the navy. I served on Guam and indirectly contributed in the death and destruction of Vietnam.
I married while in the service and my wife and I just celebrated our 29th anniversary. After our 2 children were grown I returned to college and I am carrying a 3.75 GPA. I will graduate some time in the next few years and will have a degree that will not serve much purpose for a man in his middle fifties (I've told my advisor that the only use will be that it looks good on an obituary). I wonder how many others like myself who could have done well for themselves or for their country did not have the chance to come into their own at their own pace because the 1960s did not offer that option. I am not bitter. In fact, life what it is, has taken been very good to me and I don't think I'd trade it for anything. Still, I wonder what could have been or what might of been. And I wonder how many in a similar situation as mine could have done well. I wonder how many breathed their last in the tropics in a war not meant to be won. I hope this country learned something.