Tuesday, November 11, 2008

...Until You've Walked In Their Shoes.

It hangs on my wall, high up, in front of me as I sit at my computer. It is an old grainy black and white taken in 1967. It's a a reminder for me to never forget. The group is the 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and I am in there somewhere. The group's mission was bombing North Viet Nam, and some of those men ended up in the Hanoi Hilton. Some just exploded in the sky.

The impressions that the war left on me were strong enough that I prayed I wouldn't have sons who I might one day have to see go off to yet another war. I didn't like what I saw, and I cannot even begin to imagine the plight of the grunts on the ground in South Viet Nam. Thankfully, I never had to walk in their shoes.

I hate war, I hated and did not believe in the war in which I took part (thankfully only as a doctor). Most of all, I hated the way the men were treated here at home when they returned with their broken bodies and frightfully broken minds. They hadn't declared the war, and they hadn't (for the majority) chosen to fight it. But it was what it was.

The other day, just after coming ashore from a paddle, I met a WW II vet. I chatted with him and got a history lesson in return. At the end I thanked him for his service.

Thanks to all who served. Special thanks to those who gave up months, sometimes years, with their families to do what they felt they had to do. Thank them and know that you will never have any idea what they did and what they saw unless you've walked in their shoes.

Paddle safe...

DS

6 comments:

DaveO said...

Amen.

Ron said...

Thanks Dick, for your service. I enjoyed our dinner and drinks last week, I hope we can get together again soon.

derrick said...

well said.

Kristin said...

Thank YOU for your service.

bonnie said...

Thank you for your service. And may those prayers you said back then be heard someday...

steve said...

We are indebeted more than we care to admit and sometimes take our liberty for granted. Thanks are in order on many levels. We live in dangerous times