As much as I like to visit that little piece of usual heaven which is my very own mental pond, sometimes while there thoughts come uncalled for; thoughts which bring back from hidden little corners those memories which had been hitherto banished for eternity. Well, eternity as may be defined by our mortal and very imperfect minds. Which is a lot shorter than the other one.
I sat there, quietly perusing many memories. Maybe trying to, from an amalgam of words and ideas, pick something which could be transformed into a blog entry; an entry which could be light a little funny (maybe) and easy on the eyes and the thinking process.
But, as things tend to go, when you least expect it…
The clouds rolled in and then away… behind them, came thoughts that had been purged from my mind. Or so I thought. In other entries past I glanced over my time in the army while overseas, trying to look at the better moments. Those were years which most of us who served in the armed forces chose to put mentally aside in the pursuit of a post Viet Nam life. I did not go to Viet-Nam; those who did gave all: body, care, thoughts, families and in many cases, the future stability of their own minds. I am not going to argue about right or wrong; or whether this, like many other wars, was created to pursue the interests of those who were in power at the time. Political and financial power.
I was stationed at Naha Wheel in Okinawa, probably the closest point to VN and the outlet for many of those who were lucky enough to make it and start the long, difficult and painful way back home. While in Okinawa, I drove a deuce and a half and went to the port on a regular basis to pick up used or discarded war ordinance (material/equipment) and bring it back to the warehouse, where it would be processed to its end, whatever that might be.
Those things, after delivery, I did not see again. Often they were not pretty sights, bloody remnants of a war without fronts where anyone could be a mortal enemy. Men, women, children, young, old.
Not so easy to make the human by-product disappear. My memories of those days and nights reminded me. The cries in the middle of the night; cries that came to someone’s lips while in the midst of a surreal dream, most likely reliving moments which would rather be forgotten. Someone waking up with a sudden start and dropping to the floor, looking to any one next to him as you would look at someone who wanted to kill you. The nights when we had to physically restrain a child who too early turned an old man and just coming back from the war zone, until we could make him realize he was amongst friends. The pain, the angst, the wasted lives. The feeling of total frustration and desperate want to help, and not being able to.
Yes, many memories came back. And I know mine are far from the worst. I can’t even begin to imagine the memories of those who at 18 or 19 years of age were in the middle of a fight no one seemed to support. Sometimes we would talk. It was not easy for me to listen and much more difficult for them to speak about their days and nights in the jungle. I laid in bed many nights, totally awake. I could only imagine what this generation was going through. Not knowing that perhaps the worst was yet to come for many, as they came home to a society which looked upon returning soldiers as not wanted killers. Today, after so many years, sometimes I still think about this when I wake up in the middle of the night.
War is real. You kill, you die. You bleed, you hurt. Then, when you manage to survive physically your mind may not. War is not, as some children may think today, a virtual TV game. Which you turn on and off.
Wally’s Pond. Sometimes the memories can be dark. But they are a part of who I am and will not be denied.
Be Well … Be Back!!!
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