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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

JJ: 11/11 thoughts

Veteran's Day. It used to be a bone of contention between Lyn & I. At church, when the pastor asked all the vets to stand, I wouldn't. When the topic of military service came up, I'd make an off-hand comment about being 4-F or a student. I never exactly lied, but I kept a low profile. Dad tried to get me to join one of the veteran's organizations, the VFW or American Legion, but I wouldn't. It wasn't that I was ashamed of being a vet, but it didn't seem like something to brag about or flaunt either. A lot of guys gave up their health or their lives, and I guess I never felt like I did all that much. The WWII vets I grew up around didn't wear embroidered hats or sew fancy patches on their jackets. They didn't advertise what they had done or where they had been, and when they talked of the war, they did so casually, and mostly only to other veterans. I don't think it was modesty that controlled them. It was just a matter of accepting the past and getting on with things. I don't know what it was/is with me. A lot of guys I know went through worse times than I did in Vietnam. I lost friends there. I am glad I was there because I think NOT going would have always bothered me, but maybe my act of going bothers me. Dunno. So it's not something I talk about much. I was partners with Jerry for quite a while before he learned that I had been in the service and been in Nam, and he was surprised. When I see someone bragging of being a vet, I always suspect them of being fakes. Oh well. Last year I broke down and joined the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I did it because some veteran friends talked me into it. I mention being a vet sometimes in conversation, and talk a little about it. Vietnam was forty years ago. I guess it's time I got over it. Happy Veteran's Day. TBC (Me)