Yes, I equate war to child abuse—as in, the government abused my unborn childhood when they sent my father to Vietnam in 1967—one of the worst years of Johnson’s escalation.
He also saw friends explode in front of him. In mid-sentence, he would say: “one minute he was talking to me then he was just gone.” He always laughed in a “can you fucking believe that?” kind of way—shaking his head.
It’s laugh or go further crazy, I reasoned.
He has bullet shrapnel in his leg. They dumped Agent Orange on him. He survived to carry a purple heart, and a bronze star for going above and beyond to save the friends that didn’t explode in front of him, and for killing a lot of poor rice farmers in the process.
I think his medals shame him. He refused to leave them to me in his will.
“I’ll put them in a nice case, display them in my home, to honor you.” I argued. “I mean, you’re literally a war hero, dad.”
“Killing people.” he told me, “is nothing to be proud of.”
My adult life has been a search for answers about my father’s time in Vietnam. My hope has always been to understand the emotional dynamics of war and war trauma—of what happened to my father—through the literature of traumatized soldiers.
This life study has added context to my childhood memories, inspired this website, and led to a deeper healing, forgiveness than counseling alone can offer.
It has not been a pleasant journey. War is the ugliest of human phenomenon. Innocent civilians, soldiers, marriages, families, and childhoods—war destroys everything it touches. War is poison. It should be abolished. I wish to contribute my voice to that argument.
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