Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Jacob Jarrard
Salt Lake CIty, UT, 84102

I don't believe I know very many Vietnam veterans. I can't say that I lost a father, a friend, a loved one, but what I can say is that not many days fly by me without some sort of reflection on the lives taken by that tragic war.
As I have become older, those boyish feelings of nostalgia for some sort of hero have faded and I have become more reliant upon my own abilities and have outgrown, in many ways, the security of a role model or trust in the skills and talents of one older and wiser. In finding it necessary to deal with the issues of this world and in searching for an objective and tangible sense of purpose, I am continually haunted by those who now I call my heros- those who lost their precious lives on the field of battle. And Vietnam seems to stick it to me where it hurts the most. No matter the purpose of the war, the designs of the enemy, or the heart of the soldier, I cannot ignore the cries of remembrance for the blood spilled upon the ground of a distant land.

There is really only one reason why I feel the way I do. I think of some nobody scrawny and poor 18 year old boy stuck against his will in a dirty, wet, and hot land far from any comforts whatsoever. I consider the horror in his eyes and the crimes he had witnessed and perhaps participated in. I try to answer the questions that must have plagued him, "Why am I here?", "My mother taught me my whole life to do the right thing and to help those in need and now I have to fix bayonettes- how is this serving my country?" And I envision the moment his sacred life was violently ended for absolutely no good reason. I think of his remains sent home to his calloused and unforgiving country and a letter delivered to his ruined family. And then I sadly admit that life here in the U.S. would not be much different had he nor any other ever been sent there. There is no doubt however, that this young man and all those like him were part of the same group of people who stormed the beaches of Normandy and saved the world, restored a broken nation and helped give rise to a struggling equality, and fought against a soverign motherland and beat the odds in order to give birth to a new freedom.
These people are my heroes. They had no idea who I would be nor of my existence. They had no reason to be where they were. They died in vain and I would trade places with them in an instant given the chance to thank them for the life I have now, the absolutely incredible life that I lead, full of peace and comfort and prosperity and security. I am married and have a baby on the way, and things could never be better. Most people would thank God in my position, and I do, but the voices of those that haunt me every day plead for me to never forget them at their darkest hour, and I never will.



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