Two Thoughts for Tuesday
|Viet Nam Veteran's Statue|
While I thoroughly enjoyed all the sights around Washington DC this week, I will say the war memorials were among the most moving for me personally. Nothing "shakes me to my core" more than looking at the families that are doing their etchings of their loved one's name on the Viet Nam War Memorial wall.
It is the Viet Nam Memorial in particular that I have a personal connection. Those 58, 272 names were men and women that fought in a war that my brother, my friends, and my extended family took part in.
In 1969 both my brother and my boyfriend (now husband) enlisted in the Army. The draft lottery was to start that year and my brother who was born in 1950 was the first year that the lottery was drawn for. He would have been drafted had he not enlisted. Immediately after boot camp by brother was sent to Viet Nam. He stayed there for 2 tours of duty which got him out in 2.5 years.
As I was still in high school and the fact the women weren't part of the draft kept my involvement limited primarily to the task of writing letters and shipping boxes containing tins of cookies, jars of peanut butter and Kool Aid (to mask the taste of the crappy water) and a sundry of other things to help with the "awfulness" of that war.
Luckily, my brother came home two and a half years later with a hand full of medals and a Purple Heart, BUT he did come home.
Also, in 1969 my life moved forward. I had another year of high school, got engaged, got married and by 1975 we lived in Kansas City, Mo. We had a little girl that was 17 months old and a baby on the way. My husband was still in the military, although he was past being "active" and was classified a reservist with the US Army.
We were expecting another baby that was due to be born in April of 1975. Unfortunately, things weren't going well with that pregnancy. I had become very ill close to my due date and we were told that our baby had not survived. Additionally, it wasn't looking particularly promising that I could survive the C Section to deliver our stillborn baby. Nothing was going well on that score. After an emergency C Section and a day and a half in a Intensive Care Unit, we learned that our baby had not been a stillborn birth but had been taken to the Neonatal nursery. There seemed to be a lot of confusion as to who he belonged to which is why it took the better part of two days for us to learn of his survival. In those days, stillborn births were scheduled on the General Surgery floors as to keep the mothers out of the happy place of the Maternity Wards. I was on the General Surgery floor. When Kiddo #2 arrived at the neonatal nursery there wasn't a corresponding mother in the maternity ward.
And what does any of this have to do with a War Memorial you ask??? Kiddo #2 was born on the morning of April 23, 1975. President Ford made "A War That Is Finished" speech at Tulane University that day. The final end of the war was official one week later on April 30th.
|looking at the wall|
|Some of the 58,272 names|
Another one of the war memorials is the Korean War Memorial
|19 stainless steel soldiers replicate a platoon on patrol|
|The 19 statues reflect off of a granite wall making it appear|
as if 38 are there.
Here are some assorted pictures from our trip.
The Good for the Day...Hubby never went to Viet Nam. He worked in personnel and did the paperwork of the men that were going there.
The Bad for the Day.. There was a lot of anti war sentiment with the Viet Nam War that made being a soldier very difficult.
The Weird for the Day... As I was standing at the wall, I was eavesdropping on some of the conversations. I heard an young couple, probably in their late 20's, ask "when was the Viet Nam War?"
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