On the Road and In Your Backyard



Remember the fallen who gave their all and always question whether we live up to their sacrifice. Cliché though it may be, I always keep a paper carnation in my vehicle, not just this weekend.  When I sit in traffic, I reflect and try to improve. It’s a deep debt that requires our permanent vigilance to meet.


We’ll return tomorrow with pictures.

20 replies
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    Argiope says:

    Thanks, Alain. Beautifully stated. For me, this means working to keep Bolton et al from raising that debt further. Think I will call my spineless R senator again tomorrow and ask him what he’s doing to reclaim war powers to Congress.

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    arrieve says:

    My father was not a particularly admirable person but he was in the Marines for 30 years. After having fought in Korea, he didn’t have to go to Vietnam but he volunteered. I was just a child, but my mother — they were divorced by then — said he used to be such a kind man and he was never the same after Vietnam. Life might have turned him into the angry, cynical man he became anyway, but I do often wish I remembered the younger version of him better.

    My stepfather was also career military — in the Air Force — and also served in Vietnam. He was a lovely man, kind and funny. He lost most of a lung after a helicopter crash so when he got lung cancer it killed him even faster than it normally would have. War keeps killing even if you manage to make it home alive.

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    Raven says:

    @Miki: I’m surprised at the beginning of the narrative of Gary’s death, it seems to serve no purpose. We had and officer in my unit who took a jeep from a firebase onto a road that had not been swept for mines (SOP in the mornings since Charlie owned the night) and got himself and another guy killed. Years later his brother contacted me seeking information about his death and I saw no value in telling the guy that his brother’s stupidity got him and another guy killed. Sometimes it don’t mean nuthin.

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    RAVEN says:

    @arrieve: He survived Korea and the Nam fucked him up? Interesting, I guess it all depended on where and what.

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    Mike R says:

    Larry Fontaine, killed by explosive device in South Viet Nam on nov 7, 1966, he was a Marine. He graduated in 1965, we were class mates. Hadn’t thought about him for years. While placing flowers on parents graves saw his burial site, Next to his parents. No one has placed a flag or flowers for a couple of years, that will be taken care of from now on. Nineteen is too young, he was a good kid.

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    pinacacci says:

    2Lt Joseph G. Mikrut
    328 AAF WWII
    b.1921 d.1945

    My father flies with a photo of him. We do not forget.

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    arrieve says:

    @RAVEN: I think it was a deep cynicism about how badly managed it all was, and all for nothing. But I don’t really know. So even though he didn’t die in action I do always think of him on Memorial Day because he was lost.

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    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Raven: You did his family a kindness many people would not have thought to do.

    The first guy I ever had a crush on went to the Nam. I knew when I saw him after he came back, that he would not survive. It was weird that I *knew* it. I lost track of him when I went to college. On my 21st birthday I ran into mutual friends and asked about the old crowd. They told me he’d sliced all the way to several arteries the month before. He had a pretty sharp straight razor from his time as a haidresser/barber.

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    J R in WV says:

    It is strange and weird how dangerous any hitch in the military is, every branch, all the time. Partly because of the necessary hierarchy wherein less thoughtful (or even stupid) people can instruct others to do stuff that can turn out to be incredibly dangerous.

    And partly because no matter how much thought and effort goes into making something “fail-proof” dangerous machines can’t be made that some thought-less “genius” can’t override the safeties. I never saw the war when I served. Yet I couldn’t count the number of times I saw potentially fatal accidents where by sheer luck no one actually was killed.

    Remember all those folks who were standing in the wrong place when someone above dropped a power tool, or just a heavy part. Or were riding in a vehicle driven by a terrible driver. OR whatever…

    For that matter, you don’t have to be IN the military for the military to drop something into your warehouse… remember those folks too.

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    raven says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: One of Andy’s classmates had a dream that he would be killed and she was guilty for years that she didn’t warn him. When she told me I said “you have nothing to be guilty about, he would have joined anyway”.

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    Raven says:

    @Mike R: My cousin was in 2/1 at that time. He lived but he said he hasn’t had a decent night of sleep since.

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    Mike Robbins says:

    It is perfectly understandable, the epithets given the Corps were earned not given. Eat the apple fuck the corps, May your cousin find peace, worn out gear, worn out marines, never want to be that tired again. Larry was in Echo company. I was in ITR at Camp Pendleton at the time.

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    opiejeanne says:

    Levi Green 1863, Wounded at Vicksburg by a sniper on December 26, 1862 and died February in St Louis, MO.

    He was 37, my great great grandfather.

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    opiejeanne says:

    Jerry Daniel “Danny” Varner. Marine Corp, Pfc. 1944-1947 Vietnam

    My cousin

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    zhena gogolia says:

    Thanks for this thread.

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    Bnut says:

    Alain, I am with you on constant reminders. I wear a 550 cord bracelet every day. People sometimes judge it as some type of “I’m a veteran” signalling. No. It is a constant reminder to me that people I knew (and also didn’t) never got the chance to have a future like I can. I don’t want to waste this opportunity.

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    Miki says:

    @Raven: I’m not sure why that paragraph is included. Gary was my first cousin – the story we were told was consistent with the rest of the link. My aunt never quite believed the story, or that he was dead, because she never saw his body.
    I had forgotten he was killed so soon after he arrived in ‘Nam. My grandfather (served in France at the very end of WWI and, in his 40s, in the South Pacific in WWII) was heartbroken by Gary’s death. The words “Cannon Fodder” come to mind.

    Back then, service was an acceptable thing in our family (Viet Nam Era vet here, as was my brother). But not anymore, apparently.

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