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Vietnam: War Abroad, Skirmishes at Home


January 30, 2014

This post has been published on Reagangirl.com with the permission of Forrest L. Gomez, Vietnam vet, author, and friend.

flag-at-wall_vietnam_wall_hmnf

MEMORIES OF DAYS GONE BY:

1969. It was a sad time. The war in Vietnam hung over the nation like a pall. Those doing the fighting knew they could win if allowed. People in America were frustrated by a war that seemed to go on incessantly. Nobody was satisfied on either side of the issue.

I was on leave in California, visiting my extended family, and getting myself prepared to go back for another tour in ‘Nam. My older sister and her husband invited me see a local theater company’s performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in San Francisco. I wore my dress uniform, not ashamed of who I was. And besides, it was the only outfit I had with a proper tie. We enjoyed the first half of the play in a very classy theater–so classy that it had drinks and snacks on a buffet table during the intermission. I was truly enjoying myself. As I was mulling about, I heard a quiet, collective gasp from those around me. Suddenly, a well-dressed hippie was standing in front of me. (I say well-dressed because he and his clothes were neat and clean, and he was wearing a new-looking serape.) He smiled at me like an understanding brother and said, “How ya doing, man?” I answered, “I’m fine. How are you, friend?” The hippie then said smoothly, “You know, what you’re doing is wrong.” I simply answered, “That’s what we’re fighting for, so folks like you and I can disagree freely.” He looked at me calculatingly, then smiled, turned about, and disappeared into the crowd.

I admit I felt relieved that he had not been confrontational, but my adventure was not yet over. A heavy set man in a tuxedo-style suit with a sash stepped in front of me and glared at me like I was something stuck to the sole of his shoe. He proceeded to call me a “fool” and a “loser,” and tell me how anyone who joined the military was either broke, stupid, or both. I was just about to let him say farewell to what would have been his nose when the hippie appeared out of the crowd again and got into Tuxedo’s face. He jabbed his finger into our mutual acquaintance’s chest and said loudly, “Why don’t you just shut up! At least he’s got the guts to do something about what he believes in! What’s your cause, Fats, besides ruining people’s evenings?”

Mr Tuxedo quickly retreated, sweating with fear. I looked at the hippie fellow, grinned, and put out my hand for a shake. As we shook hands, he said, “Peace, brother!” and I replied, “Peace be unto you.” I never saw him again, and I hope he has lived a long and prosperous life. I learned another important lesson that day: You never know when you’re going to find a friend.

May our Lord Jesus Christ be your best friend all the days of your lives, brothers and sisters. Old Sarge loves you all.

– The Sarge

Reposted with permission of the author by Reagangirl.com  1/30/14

  1. Ric Thayer

    Good on ya’, Sarge! It is amazing how a chance encounter can shape so many lives. Imagine how different it could have been if any one person in the scenario had acted, or reacted, differently. Our prejudices show who we are, more so than any other character trait. Loved the article!

    • L MILLIE NICHOLS

      SARGE, I LOVED YOUR ARTICLE , ANYTHING ABOUT VIETNAM WAR IS A VERY TOUCHY SUBJECT FOR ME I HAD 6 BROTHERS AND 5 OF THEM SERVED IN THE SERVICE ONE IN WW11 ,ONE IN THE KOREN CONFLICT.. ,AND ONE NI VIETNAM WAR.. THEN THERE WAS DESERT STORM BUT MY BROTHER THAT SERVED INAM .. CAME OUT WITH SO MANY HANG UP ..WOULDNT DISCUSS ANYTHOUG ABOUT THE WAR AND WHEN HE HEARD US DISCUSSING WHAT WE HAD SEEN ON THE HIDTORY CHANNEL HOW BAD IT WAS.. HE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID SIS IT WAS MUCH WORSE THAN THAT.. THAT NIS ALL HE EVER SAID ABOUT IT BUT HE DRANK AND SMOKED POT THE YOUNGER YEARS THEN FROM THE SPRAYING OF AGENT ORANGE HE GOT CANCER AND DIED.. SO IT IS MOST DIFFICULT FOR ME TO READ ARTILE ABOUT THIS TIME .. I CANT DO THIS WITHOUD TEARS CLOWDING MY EYES I REMEMBER HOW HE GOT SPIT ON WHEN HE HIT THE USA AND HOW JANE FONDA WAS THE ONE THAT CAUSED SO MUCH PAIN. I GUYS DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE THEY DIDNT JOUN THEY WERE DRAFTED.. BUT THE NAME CALLING AND PROTEST WERE LED BU jane fonda.. Your Facebook Friend LMN….

  2. Well done, sir! I had many relatives in that war. My father, and many uncles. Lost one, too. They are finally coming out of their shell little by little, and it warms my heart to see stories like yours published. I am a veteran myself. May God bless you and yours, brother.

  3. Alan Du Brul

    Thank you, Sarge.
    That brought back many memories, most of which aren’t those I would have cared to recall.

    I did two and a half tours and was working MI at the time. On my first extended R&R I made the mistake of returning home. My family and friends were nice and, of course, supportive. They knew that I disagreed with the politics of that war, but that I had a strong sense of duty and love of country. It was the others that I encountered who were full of hate and misunderstanding.

    I didn’t go around in uniform because I was too happy to get into civies again. But my GI hair cut and deep (Nam) tan gave away my current occupation. To my surprise, the worst encounter I had was with a former fellow police officer. This man and I had attended the police academy together, and up to the time of our encounter, I had thought of him as a friend. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that when I encountered this man a few years ago, I found that he had indeed, continued on the path he had chosen, all those long years ago. Today, this man is a card carrying Liberal/Progressive/Socialist/Marxist?power hungry, gun grabbing, rights stealing democrat.

    I am still a loyal Conservative American Patriot, but now I add Christian to mix. Times have changed…and stayed the same. God, please come back. We need You now more than ever!. Amen.

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