Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The never ending hurt

He was 19.

He got his draft notice.

He went to the draft board and asked what he should do.

He was told to pick one.

He picked the Marines.

In a few months, he was in Vietnam.

He's now 60.

He is retired from a good career and plays golf most everyday.

He noticed my memory bracelets today and asked about them.

Immediately, he was 19 again.

He has felt a bullet whizzing past his head.

He has heard a bullet hitting his friend in the head.

He still wonders why it was his friend and not him.

He is 60, but he will forever be 19 and in the jungle of Vietnam.

Godspeed to our veterans.

They have seen Hell on earth.

And they live with it everyday.

Thank you men and women who have served.

I'm guilty.

I turned 18 in 1972.

I got my notice from the Selective Service.

I went to the office in Atlanta and registered.

I got my physical.

I could have volunteered. But, since the draft was over, I didn't have to.

So, I didn't.

The prevailing thought then was to avoid the military at all cost.

I now realize that it was your cost.

I chickened out, because I could.

I'm sorry.

I should have served.

It was no more your duty than mine.

I now understand the hurt. I now understand the concept of shared sacrifice.

Thank you.

Forgive me.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to you.

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