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Thomas Rene, Vietnam veteran
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

I was with the 213th Assault Support Helicopter Company(Blackcats) at Phu Loi. I was just remembering one night when a rocket attack took place. About four of us were sitting in our hootch smoking some pot that was so strong it could curl your toes, listening to Jethro Tull. I was sitting in a top bunk when one rocket hit about 50 or 60 yards away. The concussion knocked me from the bunk to the floor and I remember with humor a buddy looking over at me and saying "that must have been some ass-kicking pot".

We were all so young and the thought of dying sometimes seemed to never entered your thoughts even though you knew it was always there at anytime around the corner. We did our job's the best we could. Thats why we were there.

For many years after that war I was bitter at the country for the way we Viet Vets were treated. I sure didn't respect authority after that experiance and the way the politics of it played out. At the time I was never really against people who were against the war. In hindsight I guess I was too. I remember at the time thinking that it probably took as much guts and conviction avoiding the draft and for example going to Canada as it did to get on that plane and go over there. Some people seem to forget how it was back then and where society was at. Time seems to change perspectives. Thats why I think it is so hypocritical watching the politicians today pointer their fingers at each other over who went, who didn't, why, how, etc etc., guestioning each other patriotism in cynical partisan ways. That war wasn't that cut and dry. I guess you can tell I still have a little resentment I carry around.

I think of and say a prayer almost every day for my 50+ thousand friends brothers and sisters whose lives ended as a result of that war for this country. They are the real Patriots. I will not forget them. Thats how I will honor them in my life until I'm six foot under.



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