The Great State of New York has deemed March 29 Vietnam Veteran’s Day because on this date in 1973, the last 2,500 troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam. This withdrawal finally ended our Nation’s military involvement in a very long and extremely unpopular war. Â Over 58,000 soldiers lost their lives. It was bad juju all around.
I’m a product of it.
Oh, okay. You know me and my self-deprecating sense of humor. I dredge up woe for dramatic purposes, but I believe it adds depth to my storytelling. The stories are true – at least, to my knowledge – but I find it’s more entertaining to add some extra stink to my onion of a life.
But enough about that. My self-deprecating story goes like this: My biological parents met at a military function three weeks before they got married. For some reason, I like to believe it was a dance of some sort. At least it adds an element of romance to it. Anyway, details are unclear. My mother is from South Carolina and my father was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. I don’t know how they came to be at the same function, but my dad, being a charming, handsome, narcissistic sociopath reeled my mom in hook, line and sinker.
Now, from the stories I’ve heard, my father was NOT interested in a military career. He avoided it like the plague. I heard that he was offered a spot in the National Guard as opposed to being drafted, which he promptly messed up by never attending any of the meetings. So, he was forced to go to “The Show”. And I have no idea how he would go from “conscientious objector” to being a Green Beret… this transformation truly eludes me. But, the entity that is my father is a complete mystery to me. Why try to decode him now?
So. Here’s where I start to wing it. My dad heard that newlyweds didn’t have to leave to go overseas right away, so he gets my mom to marry him. Then he finds out that this was NOT the case. Â Then he hears that if you’re expecting a child that deployment would be postponed. So, he procreates. And learns that he was wrong again. So now, the man has a new wife and baby on the way, and STILL has to be deployed? I bet he was kicking himself over screwing up the National Guard gig. So, ultimately, I exist solely as a ploy to keep my father out of the Vietnam War. I failed. Self-deprecation at its best. Right?
He went to Vietnam and got shot several times. His arm was badly wounded. He states that he has severe mental deficiencies thanks to his time in Vietnam. I sincerely believe that those deficiencies were a part of his original genetic makeup but am in full agreement that his four-month long stint as a Green Beret must have been hellacious. I give him credit for his tenure as a soldier, but that’s about all I can give him.
But, for the rest of the soldiers out there, I commend you. Thank you for your service. I can’t even begin to imagine what you go through for the sake of your country – something that you don’t even HAVE to defend. You made the choice. You stepped up and bravely made the commitment to serve in the armed forces. Or, some judge mandated you to serve your country or do jail time. 🙂
The closest I have come to any sort of combat is the battle I currently face with my son. We didn’t sign up for this. We did not make the choice to be deployed in this war for his life. It’s not an issue of bravery. We were drafted. I would rather be a “conscientious objector” of this war on cancer than to be in the throes of battle, but there’s no choice.
And we’ll fight to the finish, hopefully minimizing the casualties.