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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Monday, May 30, 2005

American Hero

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Jesus (John 15:13)


This tribute is for all the men and women who have fought bravely both here and abroad to secure liberty and to protect the weak.

May America never forget their efforts to preserve the Constitution. May they remain in our highest esteem. May we, as a Nation, deserve the rights they laid down their lives to protect.

God bless every public servant, every soldier and their families who have also paid the supreme sacrifice.


2 Comments:

At Fri Jun 03, 12:22:00 PM MDT, Blogger Daisy Mae said...

thank you. With so many negative feelings about iraq, those of us in the military don't always feel wanted. thank you.

 
At Sat Jun 04, 07:05:00 AM MDT, Blogger The Voice said...

Daisy Mae,

As Americans, we did a terrible disservice to Vietnam Veterans when they came back. A very dear friend, who returned from his third and final tour of duty via LA International Airport, arrived expecting to see a hero’s welcome and instead was met with jeers and even was spat on. He said it was an incredible shock to him and the rage he had promised to leave back in Vietnam welled up inside of him. He wanted to destroy the protesters like he had killed the VC.

As the story goes, Casey came home knowing full well that his wife had not only been cheating on him but that she had run off with another man and abandoned their three children. Coupling the rage he carried inside over that betrayal and the summary rejection by his government, his countrymen and the very people he fought bravely to protect. His rage turned to despair and self loathing. He turned to the bottle for solace and to forget the atrocities he witnessed in Vietnam.

In his forty-eighth year of life, Casey's battle with bitterness and rejection and betrayal ended in a VA hospital. His liver function was severely compromised secondary to the damaging effects of mass alcohol consumption – his diagnosis was Cirrhosis of the Liver.

I spoke with him the day before he died. I remember imploring him to fight, to get mad and not to keep his suffering so stifled. I reminded him of all the good he did for the neighborhood as an advocate for their needs. I reminded him of how unfair it would be for his three pre-adolescent aged sons needed him.

Casey said, "The will of God is something I cannot rightly say I understand. I am here today and I figure that is where I am supposed to be. I am tired." He looked around at the machines that beeped in that bright white intensive care cubicle and then delicately touched the tube coming out of his nose. He looked at the tube that whose contents appeared like coffee grains in a yellowish liquid. The exudate being suctioned from his stomach was partially digested blood. He said, "I trust in the will of God. If this is how I go, [then] I'm ready. My life can't have been a mistake. It s the will of God."

I knew he was going to die and I only hoped his suffering would not go on much longer. I held his hand and told him that I loved him. I told him he needed to think about his kids who were still very young.

He looked me in the eye and said, "The will of god." With that, I left his hospital room.

Vietnam left many Americans who served their country and their families to deal with all the repercussions in its wake. Like Casey, I love my country. I love what our Constitution represents.

Casey's death led me to pursue one of my degrees in History. I have reviewed the Vietnam War over and over again only to come up with the same conclusions. America should have never been there. Because of insane policies, many lives were ruined and the people who paid the price because our leaders decided to fight the menace of Communism and a select few became wealthy from war contracts.

The philosopher, George Santayana once wrote, "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it." I remember Casey Casaus, whose tours of duty were spent as a Door-Gunner on a Med-Evac helicopter and it puts a face I can recognize on the Vietnam War. I am troubled that companies like Halliburton are tallying up the bucks while civilians over there are dying in droves. American civilians in Iraq live in fear that they might be the next person who will be gruesomely videotaped with their hands tied behind their backs as a masked killer reads a political statement which the victim does not understand and then has his head brutally severed from his body.

I hate that America has once again put her soldiers in harm's way and offers them little to no support when they return. You would have thought we had learned something from Vietnam but it doesn't appear that way at all. The civilian death toll has now reached 12,000 in Iraq and daily, the numbers rise.

I love my country and I love the soldiers who fight for our right to exist but I wonder how the hell we could have been drawn into war by a bunch of men who never served their country in the front lines if at all. It is evident we entered that war without an exit strategy and American soldiers are coming home in boxes. They are returning severely damaged psychologically. Many untold numbers are maimed and their battle with their government to receive what they rightly deserve begins without any media support. Their lives are in shambles while their ribbons and badges of honor tarnish with time as America's appreciation fades and her attention is turned to another foe. The war machine is dutifully fed with the lives of patriotic human beings. It spits them out like excrement and the Casey Casaus's of the world are left with dying remarks like, "I trust in the will of God. If this is how I go, [then] I'm ready. My life can't have been a mistake. It s the will of God."

Let us bring this war to an end. Let us welcome our soldiers with open arms. Let us offer them all the support they need when they return. Let us honor them for their brave service to their country. Let us never forget our soldiers. Let us never forget our veterans.

 

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