a reply to: WanDash
I was born while my father was deployed in Vietnam. That was in '66. He returned home on leave in '70 and I got a sister. Then he finally came home,
for good ( Retired after having served in both Korea and Vietnam ) in '73 (or '72 - hard to recall ).
My father died from cirrhosis of the liver in '96. My mother, to this day, tells me that I never actually knew my father... that the man who returned
from Vietnam was not the man she married. This is not in a "aliens abducted and cloned" him sort of way that some ATS'ers might read into it. She
meant that 'Nam changed him profoundly - to the point where he was not even close to the person he was before spending 8 years there.
I grew up with Jeckyl and Hyde for a father. He was always drinking ( I swear on my kids lives I have NEVER seen a person who could drink hard alcohol
all day long, every single day, and function as he did - he had a career as an Air Traffic Control Supervisor at Boston, then Oakland centers and he
was never sober for a moment of it ). When he was "OK" he was Superman, the most amazing Dad a person could want. Sadly he wasn't OK very often -
and when he was it often shifted to "Not OK" on a dime. Because of him I've stood on the bridge of the Nimitz and the USS Constitution. I've seen
Salem, Massachussettes. I've been to Yellowstone. I've been to both Disney theme parks. I've seen amazing things. That was the OK part of my
An example of the not OK one? Well, I'm not a tiny guy ( thin but pretty big ) and there is nothing about me that is feminine at all. The day my son
was born, I phoned my dad to tell him that he was a grandfather - a first for him. His reply "I thought you were queer. Anyway, I have company and
have to go.... *click*"
All in all he was one of the lucky ones. He found his coping mechanism ( Seagrams Seven ) and happened to scratch by until it killed him.
During my year away, living in a group environment, I roomed with a man named Benny (RIP) who was the other side of the coin and very much like the
people in this video. He served, returned home and found nothing but hatred and vitriol. He was a Vietnam vet as well. It tore him to pieces and he
never recovered. He turned to drugs.
Some months back Benny was found dead, in a ditch, under a train tressle, a few hundred yards from an intersection. Even though the street people ( I
know this because I went around and questioned all of them ) said that Benny had been murdered over a drug deal gone south - the police and coroner
simply chose to say that he'd been drunk, tried to climb over a stationary train, got jostled when it shifted and began moving, and ended up
suffering a fatal head wound.
Point is - he was a veteran and nobody even cared. To them he was just a homeless bum. To me he was a friend and one Hell of a good human being.