Sunday, May 27, 2007

Greetings Sucker

OK, it is Texino. I am a man living in the beginning days of the end of the USA. What! You heard me. When? Now. How come? Well I'll tell you about it. When I was a little boy in the first grade of school, on the first day actually, I had this weird experience. When it was time to go home, the teacher had us all stand in line at the class room door because that was where our moms or in my case my big sister would claim us. I was the first one in line and I wore a red shirt and blue pants. This important because I have always remembered seeing myself standing there. It was not like a true out of body experience in that it was as if I was looking in from some other dimension and others were around me and we were all looking into that school and the feeling was one of extreme peace and content. I remember that often, yet it happened well over 50 years ago. This is important only because I spent the next seven years in a day dream and when I matriculated to the upper grades, I did not know a thing. This caused me to fail quite badly and made me a prime target for the draft and the Vietnam war, which is where this post is going to end. It may surprise you that I was not an unwilling soldier. Why? Well like I said, I day dreamed my way through elementary school, getting by because I had the same teachers as my older sister had had and they couldn't seem to believe that I was not as artistic and quick my sums and every thing else that she had been. They must have thought I would catch up but aside from learning to read on a college level by 6th grade, I did not excel at all. Now what all my teachers and special teachers and IQ testers and touters never picked up on was that I was a super patriot. That's right folks me, Texino, was caught in the folds of the flag and I lay there like it was a mother's arms. It seemed that wherever I directed my gaze at Lee School there was Old Glory in the breeze. It was the old 48 state version and I could sit and stare at that flag for hours and my soul would swell with such pride, such true love and such a feeling of peace and good fortune that I had been born American, that little else mattered. Especially mathematics.

I got to the point where I might actually graduate from High School but due to my careless attitude I got drafted instead. So I went into the army and I did so well on my tests that I got chosen for officer school. I did not go there though because I had not graduated from High School. Now the Army probably should have let me go home and finish school, but they did not. Once I got to Vietnam though, I was able to take some tests and get a G.E.D. I made really high marks too.

Lets talk about war now. OK? Fine. It did not take me very long to find out that this whole idea of going out and killing life in general was bad JU JU. What I mean was, we killed everything we could. Monkeys, dogs, cattle, Elephants, frogs and some people. Our people and the personnel of the enemy insurgent forces. Our people? Well yeah. You put some young men together and send them out posse style and then bring them back to a sort of base camp/wild west setting and you don't take their weapons. Well Jackson, it won't be long before someone gets shot over some bullshit that might not have rated a shove back in the world. Yeah, the world i.e. the Real World. The one with the nice flag.

Now during the Vietnam War, they ran GIs though on 12 or 13 month rotation. You could extend your tour another 6 months and get 30 days leave in the bargain. When you hear a Vet say he did two tours in "Nam" that's what he is talking about. Now I really do not know many guys who extended and were in the serious combat business. I mean anywhere you might be in Vietnam was at one time or another dangerous in that you would take some mortar and rocket fire. For the most part though it was not so bad. Some guys, now they had it a lot different and they did their tour in the mud and blood. One way or the other, those guys went home by year's end. Maybe you have the growing impression that not every soldier was "Combat Happy" like they might have been back in WW II. Well you are right. Lots of fellows just did the books or ran radio nets or fixed jeeps or did the hundreds of other jobs necessary to keep a war going. I won't say this is solid fact, but it does seem that the more combat a Vietnam Vet talks about openly, the less combat he actually saw. I'm sorry guys but tunnel rats and Long Range Re-con Patrols were very specialized jobs and they just did not employ the amount of men who would have you believe otherwise. So why in hell would some soldier want to make up war stories?

Maybe you have heard of this "Greatest Generation"? Well if you are anywhere around your middle age, you have certainly heard enough from them because they are your parents and most likely filled your head with talk about the depression and walking to school 10 miles in the snow. They may not have said too much about the WAR other than it was hard to get tires and butter at home. Well they did not have to make up war stories because the ones who went stayed until it was over plus they marched through captured territory and liberated camps and saw everything you have seen on TV about WW II first hand. They don't have much to say. Conversely, the Vietnam Vet felt the need to say something, anything because under the eyes of their folks they did not have much to hold up and compare. Guilt to some extent. What? Well during Vietnam and it was on for quite some time, the USA lost 58 thousand and some. Good boys and some girls too. If that seems a lot, go compare the totals of WW II and you will find 418 thousand US deaths over about 1/2 the time. Like any stat. it can and will be bent.

Now, lets talk about who won. In Vietnam, the war to unify the country had been going on since 1958. The country was unified by the communist north after a stalemate peace was signed and the US just went home. In WWII the Axis wanted a unified Europe. They were defeated, but the European Union exists as we speak. In the far east, the Japanese wanted to gain control of resources in order to become an economic competitor on a world wide basis. They have that position now.

We are talking about two wars that caused about 75 million deaths world wide. As you can see, I have no trouble doing my sums here. Now what was it all about? It was just the result of some opinions really and when the opinions clashed the people behind them wanted to prove a point so they had a fight. A real big fight because there was no shortage of flag loving little boys to show up for the contest. It's how nations prove their worth and their right to exist and when they run out of flag boys and sooner or later they all do, well then they retire. You don't think it can happen here, do you? Well maybe you have not been reading at college level as long as I have.

1 comment:

Ms. Moon said...

Texino, you are a good writer and I know for a fact that you are good at sums, too. Write more.
Ms. Moon