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.