I attended a Vietnam commemorative event at the Pickens County Veterans Memorial Park. Also, I have recently finished reading “Vietnam - A History” by Stanley Karnow, a Pulitzer Prize winning author. The two occurrences got me thinking about my Vietnam experiences and what is going on in our country today.
As with many of my Veteran Brothers, upon landing on U.S.A. soil I felt that my fighting was over. I got on with my life. I married, raised a family and worked on my career. It was important to put the combat behind me because of the horror but it took a while for the nightmares to stop. I did not touch a weapon for 50 years. Then I realized that all the bad guys had weapons and I started to feel outgunned.
So, I was not looking for trouble. Recently, there are things happening in this country that I believe are undermining our Constitution and the values upon which this country was built. I find myself using a vulgar term often: “I do not like it when people urinate into the air and then try to convince me that it is raining.”
If I am concerned about who enters our country, I am told I am racist. Executive Orders have replaced representative government. Wanting to be sure that if someone shows up to vote, they are the person they purport to be, is now labeled voter suppression. If I own a gun, I am clearly a potential mass murderer. Our government seems to find every excuse they can to take away our rights and freedoms but say it is for my own good.
Where did I put that urine proof umbrella?
I recall the Oath of Enlistment that all people take upon entering the military service. The phrase that keeps repeating in my head is: “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
My fears of Russia and China are dwarfed by my fears of the domestic enemies. People who seem to be determined to destroy this country. This goes beyond political labels. It goes beyond the racial, ethnic, societal and economic divisions that are being used to ferment hate and turn us against one another.
“The enemy” lies, obfuscates, threatens and is absolutely ruthless in pursuing their nefarious goals. So, to all Vietnam veterans (and others), I say we are old, tired and dealing with medical issues but we must “saddle up” again for one more battle to save this country.
I am not preaching “insurrection” so I don’t want the frightened enemy to build a fence around the Veterans Memorial or my house. Besides, didn’t they say that walls do not work?
Our battles must be fought by being sure that our children and our grandchildren know the history of this country and the promise of the forefathers who wrote our Constitution.
We must let our elected officials know when they are not representing us.
Don’t let fear of losing an election stop you from calling for what you know is correct.
We must demand that hateful educational programs and training be stopped. We must do whatever we can, wherever we can, to stop this attack and ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.
And, my Veteran brothers and sisters, don’t feel alone. There are 20,000,000 of us and “the enemy” needs to know we are getting very angry.