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Honoring Vets, Nov. 2021

Salute to Veterans!

That includes military service in any country and equally includes alternative service such as Peace Corps. On this site there are vets from the Israeli, Mexican, and US armed forces, and many of you are married to vets.  I believe there are couple of our classmates who were nurses.

I stand in awe of our combat vets and nurses.  You know who you are and respectfully salute you on YOUR day.

Glad I served. Some memories are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. Hope you take the vernacular in good humor and the memories to heart:

  • Opening my draft notice and reading my change in status from IIs to Ia, while thinking, “I’m *ucked.”
  • Reciting out loud at my induction, while privately thinking “I’m so *ucked…”: “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same….”
  • Picking up an M-14 for the first time while thinking, “I’m *ucked over. Just a few weeks ago I was carrying a 7-iron at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and now I have this in my hands!”
  • Being made an infantry squad leader while thinking, “I used to think I was just *ucked, but now I know I am so effing *uckety *ucked.”
  • Having a good sergeant, while thinking, “I don’t care how *ucked I am, I’ll follow him anywhere.”  There were so many good men and women in the military.  One NCO in particular was among the finest men I have ever met.  (My grandniece, in her first year at the Air Force Academy, will be one of our finest.  So proud!  She will be an officer, and one of my tidbits of advice to her was, “Don’t *uck with the enlisted personnel.  They can tie you into knots and you’ll never know how it happened.”)
  • Cadence: “If I die in a combat zone!  Box me up and send me home!” or, “I wanna be an airborne ranger!  I wanna live a live of danger!” (No.  Really.  I don’t), or “Ain’t no use in lookin’ back!  Jodie’s got your Cadillac!” (And your girl. And your beer.).

I recommend two books about the Viet Nam war, one a personal narration, and the second a history of the war.  The first, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, a noted journalist.  Mr. O’Brien takes us from the moment he received his draft notice through his combat experience as an infantryman.  An equally appalling and disturbing combat narrative is this one by a Marine rifleman in WWII, “With the Old Breed”, by Sledge.

The second is “Viet Nam:  An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975” by noted historian Max Hastings.  The book is more balanced than the title would indicate and gives us great detail in policy formulation (US, North Viet Nam China, Russia), egotism (mostly US), politics, execution of the war, and some aftereffects.  It is a long and very interesting read, and I was astounded to find two people I know mentioned in the book – both civilians who worked in the State Department.

Upon rereading my draft, I see the words, “…support and defend the Constitution….”, and therefore very highly recommend “A Brilliant Solution:  Inventing the American Constitution” by Carol Berkin, and another one of her books on the topic, “The Bill of Rights:  The fight to Secure America’s Liberties.”  The titles seem self-explanatory, but they are a “must read” given today’s very divisive societal situation in the US.  Both books give great understanding about our founding fathers’ thought processes, precedents, final definition of representation, and where power should reside – and everything else

Thanks to all vets as defined at the beginning.  Thanks to all who support vets.

As always, I welcome comments, complaints, observations, disagreements, suggestions, etc. Anything but whining.

Leigh

P. S.  On my way out the door to march in the Veteran’s Day Parade in NY.  Just as it was in ’69, the cadence will be, “Yo lep!  Yo lep! Yo lep ripe LEP! Yo lep ripe LEP!”

agape