I went to a concert then I visited my stepfather's gravesite. He was a WW II and a Korean veteran.
In days long past, Memorial Day did not have the personal impact on me
that it does today. I did not permit the emotions connected to that day to enter my life.
However, on this day, I would like to share something here that I have never shared with anyone before other than my children.
But first let me say that this Blog is not about me and it never will be. I write for the benefit of my children and the children of this nation...PERIOD.
I sat in stunned silence yesterday as I watched two incompetent boobs in Congress (Rep. Jeff Miller-R, and Rep. Filner-D) patting each other on the back for letting a few more veterans through the door to review their disability claims with a Management Amendment to HR 1484.
More than a million vets are currently awaiting an antiquated and burdensome appeals process that forces them to wade through a growing bureaucratic swamp.
Both sides of the aisle agree that these men and women should be given top priority and have their claims accepted with the existing evidence.
Many are suffering from the effects of depleted uranium exposure which the Defense Dept. does not even acknowledge.
A growing number of veterans are suffering from one of many "war weariness syndromes"; that in order to apply for; a member of a military unit must admit to being mentally ill.
This only adds to the discomfiture and ostracizing of the afflicted vet.
One in four homeless persons in America is a veteran. With home ownership at it's newest low since the financial (housing) bubble collapse vets are not able to find affordable housing. I know a couple myself and have helped them to find homes through the generous efforts of landlords here locally. The vets are willing to work and do not want handouts.
I was even more appalled when I heard of Secretary Gates' remarks last week. He stated that "In this time of budget constraints, America must be ready to reevaluate military pay scales, retirement benefits and medical coverage."
Then on his Memorial Day address he stated "In order to honor the memories of our fallen commerades we must be able to make the right decisions and set the right priorities in the future."
WELL WHICH IS IT? I THINK AS HE LEAVES HIS POST HE MIGHT WANT TO STOP FIPPING AROUND AND REALIZE WHERE OUR PRIORITIES SHOULD BE SET!
Well, here is the last letter my mother received from my real father before he returned home from Korea. One more rambling missive was included where he stated that "We are not cowards." I believe that he was guilty for having to leave the South Korean men who he had trained while in country to the ravages of the Chinese when he left.
He's Coming Home
Issued in happy warning this===day of===.
Lock your daughters in their rooms!!
Fill up the ice box with cold beer!!
Get those civies out of moth balls!
Very soon the above mentioned will be once more in your midst, dehydrated, demobilized, and demoralized, to take his place once more as a human being with freedom and justice for all; engaged in life' liberty, and the somewhat delayed pursuit of happiness. In making your joyous preparation to welcome him back into organized society; which he will soon disorganize; you must make allowances for his crude environment which has been his miserable lot of many months.In a word he might be a little Asiatic, suffering from Japanese Odorosis or a little too much ASAHI. Therefor show no alarm if he prefers to squat on his haunches instead of sitting in a chair; insists on taking off his shoes before entering a house; or has a tendency to bow when meeting or saying goodbye to someone.Keep cool when he pours gravy over his dessert at the dinner table; insists on chopsticks instead of silverware; or prefers fish heads and rice to T-bone steak. Take it with a smile when he answers all your questions by saying "Yes" when he sometimes means "No". Be tolerant when he drags his mattress off the bed and puts it on the floor to sleep. Don't let it shock you if; when he is talking on the phone he says"Moshi Moshi" instead of "Hello" and "Sayonara" instead of "Goodbye".
Never ask him why the Smith boy held a higher rate than he did, and make no flattering remarks about the Air Force or Navy, and above all never mention "re-upping". For the first few months "until he becomes housebroken" be especially watchful when he is in the company of women, particularly the young and beautiful specimens. After many months of seeing beautiful women wooed by handsome men in the movies, he considers himself a master of the arts, and his intentions will all be dishonorable but sincere. Keep in mind that beneath his tanned and rugged exterior there beats a heart of gold. Treasure this, For after many months of continuous poker and crap games, the souvenir trips and other trips (ahem) , it will probably be the only thing of value he has left. With kindness, tolerance, and money, and an occasional quart of good liquor (never place Tories whisky or Yoku in front of him) you will again be able to rehabilitate that which is now a hollow shell of the happy civilian you once knew.
P.S. Send no more letters c/o PM APO Kokura ;
Get the kids off the streets, cause he's heading home.
A couple of months after returning home my father bought a house on the block across from the one I bought years afterward.
A few weeks later, and a few weeks before my birth he shot himself in the head with a 38.
I have lost a couple of friends in similar fashion since they returned from Viet Nam. I think that I will go back and listen to some of my old anti war music again right now.