Forgotten lives

While waiting out the rain on a rainy day I turned on my television and watched a series by Oliver North about war stories. Normally, I do not like to watch anything about war especially the Vietnam War. But Oliver North stories are about World War II and North Korea. As he described some of the battles and talks to some of the veterans of those battles, it hit me that there were so many people who died in those battles. I think of this as Independence Day is fast approaching. Our country received its independence not only by mandate but by the loss of lives. Somehow in our minds, we see those fallen soldiers as some kind of heroes. And maybe because I was born after World War II, the cost of lives and broken lives was nothing that I considered. It was simple, in my mind the United States won all of the wars. Even when I went to Vietnam I was accused of having a John Wayne syndrome. It was probable cause all the news that I saw and all the movies that I watched showed John Wayne winning the war or winning the battle. My generation was high-minded and we thought ourselves to be bulletproof until we went into battle.
The soldiers that lost their lives for the birth of our nation and the soldiers that have died to all the wars that United States have been involved in were people. They were dads and moms and brothers and sisters. They had their own moms and dads at home who were devastated when their lives are taken. Yet, it seems like we are talking about going to another location with our soldiers. There’s another side of this that I didn’t think of until I was in my 60s. There were a lot of soldiers, dads and brothers, of our enemies who also died. And their moms and dads and wives and children were equally affected.
And looking at the Oliver North stories I was amazed at the lack of communication and the simplicity of the weapons. There were the same complaints from the soldiers in World War II such as, lack of proper equipment, poor communication and the lack of support from the commanding generals when help was requested. I felt the same way in Vietnam. The lack of equipment (we would run out of ammo and explosives during big battles) poor communication (there were no cell phones and just these pathetic radios which had large whip antennas that was easy for the enemy to locate) and for me the disconnect with the commanding officers. They were in base camps while we were in the bush. And they seemed uninterested in the lives of the soldiers and more interested in intelligence such as body counts.
Another amazing thing while watching Oliver North stories, was that there were survivors. Just like in Vietnam, there were men who went through unbelievable situations and they still survived. I was struck by those survivors and their view of the war. It seemed like every able-bodied man was ready to go to war in Europe and in Korea. Only those men that were physically unable did not go. It was some sort of a badge of honor or a point of pride for those men and women who served in the Armed Forces. I don’t know what the percentage was of the United States population of men who served in the Armed Forces during World War II. But I know today only about 1% of the population now serves in Armed Forces. There is no overwhelming and immediate threat to the United States of America that is inspiring young people to join the Armed Forces. I think most of our population feels very secure at home.
I am one of those people who do not believe we should ever go into another man’s nation or country with our military to fight for their cause. I don’t think I’m an isolationist but I think those countries should fight their own battles. There are so few veterans in our Congress and for that matter as President of the United States. I don’t think they really fear the thought of using soldiers and other countries. Of those old enemies that we defeated in World War II, most are allies now and we have positive relationships with those countries. Germany, Italy and Japan all are countries we do business with and have positive relationships with. So, let the countries involved in their wars win or lose. The USA and other countries will work with their survivors.
Until our country stops trying to be the cop of the world, American lives will be lost on battlefields in strange countries for people who don’t seem to appreciate our efforts. Look at the Middle East what a mess. Yet for decades, we are sending American troops into harm’s way. Not because were afraid those countries attacking the United States, but because we believe they should be more like us, a democracy.
I, like many Americans, am ready to fight for this country. For many years I fought the battle on the streets of Los Angeles. I think our federal monies should be spent more in the United States rather than watching foreign countries use our American soldiers only to have them end up hating the United States.
I don’t fear the future and I’m proud to be a part of the American culture. I am celebrating Independence Day by appreciating the freedoms that I have and that my children have. I had almost forgotten about all of those lives that were taken in World War II and in North Korea. It’s almost like that was just a movie and till you hear the stories of the survivors and you observe some of the old footage of the damage done on both sides of the issue.
I hope you’re able to enjoy the Fourth of July by using your freedoms and enjoying your families without the threat of a bomb fallen on your head. Go out and be happy have fun and if you can take a moment of silence in remembrance of those lies spent.
Pops

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