The Vietnam war ended, variously when I was 12 or 13. It all depends whether you measure it when the US left or Saigon fell. I was young, yet the whole thing has been a big definition of who I became….
Things I know…
I get tired of politicians saying, that when someone young dies in war, they they paid the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps, but not. Who paid it? A 22 year-old woman with a two year old daughter is killed in Iraq, who pays? The kid, the child, grows up with no parent. That is a bigger sacrifice. We are a volunteer army. The choice to go was free will. The ultimate sacrifice is paid by the children, the spouses, the parents, the siblings of those who die. Yes, our dead paid. But their families everyday live with the loss.
Have you been to the Vietnam Veterans’ War Memorial? I think any, every, President should go before sending our children to die and kill in a war. Read the names. Yes, sometimes war is justified. But sit down, read the names, know the cost, the real sacrifices.
Henry Blake said it well in M*A*S*H*. There are two rules in war. Rule 1 is that young men (and women) die. Rule 2 is that doctors can’t change rule number 1.
I was really young when the Vietnam War ended. But it was part of defining me. I believed I’d be drafted, sent to kill. Maybe I was aware too young. Maybe it was my mom being out there, fighting against the war, active in a small, conservative town. I don’t know. I just know it was wrong.
Sometimes I just need to write my autobiography.