Had to warn my editor at the Forks Forum:
“The Lion’s club has asked me to come photo the Vet’s dinner. Happy to do it, but —
Just making a comment in one of the editorials, about how “the public” blamed soldiers for the Vietnam war, and how they’ve “learned better.”
My husband is a Vietnam combat vet. I’m a Vietnam-era vet.
The public blamed the draft. The ones who actually blamed the draftees were what we called the “Lifers” – career volunteers. They were furious that the draftees despised the war, even to the point of taking part to a major degree in ant-war marches. The draftees openly despised them right back.
The Lifers didn’t get their parades, and blame the public for being unpatriotic. They have no more draftees to blame, today – and won’t, because the draft left such an ugly memory for so many unwilling families and their kids. The draftees didn’t want parades, and the Lifers are still angry at them for it.
And today? Combat vets don’t come to the Stand-ins or the vet’s dinners, because being around the military in any way can make them shake in terror. I’ve seen it.
The only ones who show up at these events are the REMFs – the Vietnam term for “rear echelon motherfuckers” (I’m a REMF, and I admit it). In other words, the paperwork and supply people, who aren’t afraid of the bureaucracy. As opposed to the grunts, or actual combat people (I’m sorry I don’t know today’s terms – these were the terms in the 1970’s, and they change).
I’ve proposed the REMFs adopting the grunts, and helping them get through the paperwork for their benefits. Otherwise, the grunts end up on the street, too shell-shocked to even come get the tents and sleeping bags that will help them survive. Seen that, too. Laws making it illegal to feed the homeless don’t help.
So, this knowledge would probably flavor any article I send. Checking beforehand, before writing anything. I can just send photos, if that’s preferred.”