Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Too Little, Too Late

March 30th is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
Proclaimed on March 7, 2011 by the US House and Senate

Before I get into my post about the Veterans, I want to call your attention to the fact that Thursday, March 31, is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. An Icon of strength and courage in the labor movement as leader of the United Farm Workers. He's rolling in his grave today as the union busting idealogues strip the rights to bargain for working conditions and benefits from the working class people while adding millions to the larders of the rich.

Read about Cesar Chavez Right Here.

Now, for my take on the above logo and what it stands for:

The title doesn't mean I'm unhappy about the designation for March 30th to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. It means that a valiant attempt was made at changing history, but no one paid attention.

Earlier this month, the US Senate approved a bill that proclaimed March 30th to be Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. This was approved in the US House in 2009. I have no idea what took the Senate so much longer, but then again, it took the House only 36 years.

The Treaty of Paris was signed on March 30, 1973, the last troops left Vietnam on April 30, 1975. To World War II Veterans, June 7, 1941 was "The day that would live in infamy". April 30th 1975 was ours.

What the title is saying is that this valiant attempt to place some honor into the lives of the Vietnam Veterans was a miserable failure. There was no press, no TV or radio spots and I didn't see much of anything on the blogs except on the Facebook page of one US Marine Gunnery Sergeant named Eugene Curry, who heads up page after page of information about Agent Orange, the killer, with his Sprayed and Betrated, Destined to Die posts.

It was a miserable failure beause those of us that have survived don't give a shit anymore, and those that did are dead from the effects of Agent Orange, wounds received in battle, alcohol, drugs or suicide. All we need do is look into the eyes of one of our Vietnam Veteran Brothers and know the real horrors of war.

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. If we say anything about war and combat, we're liars and making it up to get attention. If we say nothing, we are generally put into a pot that says, "They must have not seen any action, they're not talking about it."

If we wear military regalia, a Vietnam Veterans cap or a vest with unit patches on it, we're judged as warmongers. If we don't, we are judged as ashamed of the good ole' US of A. If we complain about Agent Orange or PTSD we are crybabys, if we don't, we get nothing in the way of care, understanding or benefits. Care, by the way, that was promised us when we enlisted or were drafted.

It's a fight every day of our lives, at least in our minds. I wouldn't wish the thoughts that eminate from my brain on anyone for any reason. The anger, the violence, the self pity, shame, guilt, fear, loathing and confusion that has leached me of anything serious and contemplative. I wish you peace daily as I know I'll never see it.

As I write this, I am seething because I am unable to make anyone understand. In fact, I accept the inevitability of loneliness as I struggle to be understood. I'll leave it here for now. This is what really lives in my mind. I just hope that someday someone will pay attention and stand up for the men and women that do the bidding of society, that'd be you, the people. You are the ones that allow the government to send people off to war.

You foreigners, from the UK, France, India, Australia, Canada and elsewhere, your countries are doing it to you as well. Ask any soldier from your own country and they'll tell you the same things I am. War is not the answer, and amusing us with a promise 40 years too late to say Welcome Home and Thank You is not amusing at all.

Here are two articles about the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. The first may make you feel good,  The second, is more like what has happened to this event in real life.

The YouTube video is about the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

Turn your volume way up and hear the anthem of our lives, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son"

So, instead of a welcome home for us, say Welcome Home to those Vietnamese and Hmong immigrants that had to leave their homes because we failed to do what the American war in Vietnam was supposed to do, that is, keep their country a Democracy. Welcome them here to our shores instead of hating them and discriminating because they are of Asian descent. Do the same with the Bosnians, the Somali people, the Cubans and other people from lands across the globe. Don't forget the South Americans that can't come here because they sided with what they knew to be right as we trained their armys and police to kill civilians at the School of the Americas.

Now you have an idea of what is in my brain, how I really feel, the rage these motherfuckers evoke in me. I was pushed to the edge when I saw this grand proclamation. All this as I continue to fight for rights and benefits that were suppose to be earned on the battlefield. Sorry. Too little, Too late, but thanks just the same.

“You've never lived until you've almost died, for those who fought for it; Life has a flavor the protected will never know” Unknown

Still, I wish for you      Peace


Marilyn & Jeff said...

Your words really spoke to my heart. I am anti-war and always have been. You are right, NZ soldiers have been, and still are, sent to wars. Everyone suffers in a war. I have no idea as I have never seen or experienced war myself. What I have seen is elderly uncles who, when they returned from WW11, were expected to 'fit in' and 'get over it' and 'just get on with things', I have seen how their lives were never theirs again.
Thank you for your wish of peace; peace is what I wish for you.

Spadoman said...

Dearest Marilyn.. I feel sad that you had to read this. But I appreciate your very kind words and sentiments. I spent Christmas of 1969 in Hong Kong at the bar of the Palace Hotel with a soldier from New Zealand. We drank bottle after bottle of wine, red wine, as we wanted a special celebration because it was Christmas. Beer just wouldn't do.
Your words were like a hug. I actually came back to my post to delete it. I thought for sure people would be offended and that maybe I let just too much of my true feelings spill out on these pages.
You've allowed me to be who I am and I appreciate this visit, and all of your visits here.
Thank you, and thank you for that wish for peace.


Annie Jeffries said...

Right ON!, Spadoman. I'm sending this link to my husband. He generally comments as DHLOL (at least on my blog). He may do so here as well.

Mel said...

She's a keeper, that Marilyn.

And I echo what she said--a brother home from Viet Nam with multiple tours of duty, a father who cleared out a concentration camp in one talked. Not about any of it.

Somewhere the message was given-- for some I'm sure it worked as a means of surviving the horrors. For many, I don't believe that's true. With those two--it didn't work. One drank to forget, the other escaped to silent places where no one could touch him or the memories.

I don't like war.
I don't like hate.
I don't like the end results of either.
And I am honoured that you changed your mind and left your true feelings there--that you shared them with us.

I rely on those places where I can just say what's true for me--even if it is distorted and messed up (as it sometimes is). It's the first step to getting movement for me. I can't afford to stay stuck. I just can't.

((((((((((( Spadoman )))))))))))))

And thank you. For truth telling--even if you had that moment of indecision--you still told it. And thank you for the wish of peace. Peace is what I wish for you, above all things.

Noelle Clearwater said...

Another Reason For Loving Mothers

The two-note call of Mothers
for sunburnt children at the beach--
prolonged, high-pitched at the end--
is a bittersweet sound old as time.
A friend wounded by a mortar shell
said the last thing he heard
before the red blazing in his brain
was his mother's desperate call: BOB-EEE... and then, nothing.

How he struggled through all those weeks of darkness,
running against the tangled bushes of his dying
to be home in time for supper.
--Michael Hogan

Peace and Love,

Sue said...

I'm glad you left it here. I don't have words of comfort or wisdom, but in my very small way, I share as best I can ... and reflect back to you your wish for peace. We also treated our return servicemen and women appallingly (and still do) as for the refugees - I'm so ashamed to be Australian. My father was honourably discharged from the Navy after WWII and never spoke of it, but it affected our family with hospital admissions, antidepressants and general not coping with life, he was a fragile, wonderful man.
Heaven forbid that anyone is offended with what you have written.
I often think that war only benefits the makers of the instruments of destruction, everyone else seems to lose out.

Spadoman said...

Annie... Thanks for coming to my blog. I hope I do hear from your husband. I am assuming either he is a Veteran or a liberal. Just thank you very much.

Mel.. Thanks for being Mel and for your support. I feel it. If you say it's okay, that means I did the right thing, and you know what? I feel okay about it.

Noelle... Thank you for coming here and also for sending the e-mail. Not sure at first about the "mother" poem. I guess the good news I take from it is that I'm not calling for my Mom yet, and I'm also not sayin' "Uncle". It is a beautiful poem and I thank you for it.

Sue.. You're amazing. Your thoughts mimic mine totally, but we're halfway around the world and a hemisphere apart. Proves to me that we are all related. I've always believed that and continue to get proof, like you have proved today. Thank you very much. I am honored to know your thoughts.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Your words are honest and true. Vietnam veterans are special to my heart. I've known a good handful.

You are allowed to write whatever you want. It's your damn blog. Remember that. I'll keep on reading, brother.

I love you. Peace, dear friend.


DHLOL said...

Thank you for this. I agree with you. I did not know about yesterday until late in the day, when Annie informed me. Seems like we are at war for one reason or another, with only a short resting period in between. Now we are at war because there are those of a different religion/culture that wants to destory us simply because we exist, including some among us. Before that it was to stop Communism/Socialism. Now we are fighting within to keep our own country from becoming completely Socialist.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

With respect, some of us are fighting TO become MORE socialist.

Spadoman said...

SB... Thank you for coming here and for your kind words. I appreciate your friendship and feel fortunate that you accept me as I am.

DHLOL... Thanks for stopping by. Annie said you might pay my blog a visit. I appreciate your comments.


english inukshuk said...

indeed too little, too late

I've been sitting here for ages not knowing quite what to say next

so all I'll say is this


Spadoman said...

My English Inukshik friend... You need never say more than that, that word says it all. Thank you for coming here.

Peace to you

Christopher said...

I have a sort of son-in-law by marriage, formerly a US Marines Vietnam pointman, who never speaks about his experiences, finding it easier to cope with them and the disgust I think he feels, as you do, through silence. But I'm sure you speak for him and thousands of others. For those of us who have never known front-line war your words speak powerfully and from the depths. All honour to you - and peace, as ever.

Spadoman said...

Thank you very much Christopher. I appreciate your visit here and your friendship.

Pax Vobiscum

Jeannie said...

You are being heard even as you appear not to be.

I think most people prefer to bury their heads in the sand regarding war. We, who haven't gone to fight and haven't seen war first hand, generally don't want to know about it. It's too hard to fathom. We saw pictures on the news and re-enactments in movies and it is too hard to accept as really real.

Politicians of the time could not admit their mistakes to themselves or to the public. They had to ignore you. Now politicians can do lip service but they can not speak for the past. So what you hear does not satisfy.

The people are both proud of the courage of their vets and ashamed for having sent you. The USA has great patriotism and does some great things but it's hard to eat humble pie when a mistake is made. It is so hard to say I'm sorry when you are proud and strong. The confusion of emotions is overwhelming.

Forgive everyone.

Being forced to be a part of that which you feel is wrong is like being raped. You have been violated. But the shame is not yours.(Except for that small bit that belongs to us all for being people) You have to forgive those in control and yourself for your part. And I know you are there for others struggling with the same thing.

We are learning as individuals, communities, countries and a species to be ever more aware of our actions and their effects on an expanding basis. You are a very important part of our learning.


(You need a dream catcher for your thoughts. Seriously. I wish we could share face to face. You have made me think about many things in a different, more open way and I thank you.)

mig said...

People who've been through it can't always speak but there are always a few - like yourself - who are brave and articulate enough to say what many of us know even though we don't have the awful experience to back it up.
Sometimes you just have to take this kind of understanding on trust from people you trust even though there are a frightening number of people who simply don't seem to be able to see the truth that war is a terrible waste and a wicked misuse of our precious time and our precious children.
You've said it so much better.

Wishing you peace 'Man. It was never fair or right for you or any of the young men who fight to have been conned and driven and coerced into doing it. Still isn't.

Spadoman said...

Jeannie... Thanks for stopping by.
Your words are gentle, and speak to the very truth. I've accepted it in the past. This proclamation was a reminder. Maybe that's why it rubbed me the wromg way.
But you tempered that with reason. I appreciate you as a friend.


MIG.. Thank you for visiting here my friend. I appreciate your words and understanding. Many people have helped me get through a tough stretch, you're one of them. Thanks.