Did you know that?
I didn't until someone I knew put it up on her Facebook wall.
My husband and his brother both served in Vietnam. Growing up in the poor side of their town, they both had gotten scholarships to the University of Idaho for engineering. My brother in law got kicked out because he failed to go to classes after he fell in love. My husband quit the next year because his scholarship ran out. Unlike what my parents did for my brother; their parents could not afford to send them back by buying a slot at school. Their father had been in the Army Air Corps in Japan. Their grandfather was in WWI with the big guns. Service was an honor in their family, so off the boys went.
My brother in law became a door gunner for a medic helicopter. His second tour he was a crew chief on the same type of ship. From what he said, when he was drunk, his role was to tell the pilot when to take off- wether everyone was on or not. They landed in some pretty heated places. Purple Heart type landings. When he returned for good he finished his degree and made a pretty good living. He died ten years ago at the age of 58 from a combination of Agent Orange and lots of self medication.
My husband was a Special Forces medic. My guy is pretty shy, but sharp as a whip. He was at the top of his medic classes and saw that field as one to get to the most people in the fastest way. When he arrived in country his assignment was an area that lost a medic every ten minutes. His commander from training spotted him and rerouted him to teach the Montagnards the art of being a medic. His brother had no idea that he had enlisted and was mighty mad. My husband experienced nightly shelling, but felt he was "safe". Of course, all 20 year old guys are invincible.
Both men left as gawky, poor, inexperienced kids and returned as solid guys. Unfortunately, they were both assaulted at Fort Ord as they got off the planes after their tours with spit and dolls filled with red paint. People justify themselves often over these tactics, just as they currently justify themselves with calling people who do not agree with them names. I don't know how many times it has been implied that, "I am the smart one on the right side". To each their own.
My husband left service and returned to school. He went back and forth between his GI Bill and working in Alaska for seven years. His hair was down to his waist and his bar tab was higher then the trailer rent. The GI Bill ran out, so he joined ROTC. He graduated, with high honors with a Finance major and seven minors.
He rejoined the military, with an exemption for his age. That is a whole different story.
We go to Arlington and visit some of his friends and some of my relatives. Vietnam, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan. We have friends at Arlington from each of these wars (or more politically correct- conflicts). We stand for the flag and put our hands over our hearts and remember that Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines are people who are trying to do their duty to serve a country and a people whom they love and honor. They are not political. They do it for us.