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Korean War Vet With a Tear in His Eye

Korean War Vet With a Tear in His Eye

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Published by John Healey
Korean War, war, ptsd, trauma, veteran, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, soldier, old man, man, peace
Korean War, war, ptsd, trauma, veteran, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, soldier, old man, man, peace

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Published by: John Healey on Jan 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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I had actually considered not writing anymore of these notes and letterspertaining to PTSD, Trauma, War and the Suffering that Veterans must live withfor years, if not lifetimes. But, then I had an encounter this morning with an oldman, at least I thought he was just another "Old Man."I am in Rhode Island, somewhere along the coast. I get hired to work thesestrange little jobs that keep me with food in the belly and money in my pocket;while at the same time they allow me to live a life of freedom withoutcommitment. These little jobs take me to places around the country and attimes around the world. I look for bombs, bullets, rockets, grenades.. whateverthe military fired at some point over the years. Many of our nations state parks,game lands, wildlife preserves are former training areas that were utilizedduring WWII.Today we were out on what was a former coastal defense battery area operatedby the U.S. Navy in the late 40's. Beautiful, most of these areas are. There isn'tone place, one location that hasn't had its own glorious appeal. The wavescrashing against the rocky shore, rare birds and hawks wintering on thegrounds, the wind howling in our faces.. keeping the civilian population in theirhomes and creating a peaceful and uncrowded working environment for myself.I like it when there aren't people around.We had to hop over a fence and walk across a grassy marsh that is off limits tothe public, it's protected. As we were walking I heard a voice yell in thebackground, "Hey, come here. What are you doing over there?" I was the last inline of the four of us and I turned around and saw an older gentleman wearingnothing that could identify him from any other person on the grounds. Insteadof answering his question I responded somewhat aggressively, "Who are you?"And, "Do you work here?" He backed down and his voice became softer and hesaid he did, in fact, work there as a volunteer. I thought he could just be anothernosey old person attempting to assert his righteousness on four seeminglyignorant bird watchers and I was ready to attack and put him in his place.I shared with him that we were with the Army Corps of Engineers and all wasfine. We met at the fence and we began to talk. He shared with me some of thehistory of the site and how it played into his own life and his own history withthe Korean War. At first it was just small talk, story, data, archive information.What was here, what was there, etc.. The military isn't always accurate when itcomes to keeping records and sharing information. The Army Corps is even lesshonest and straightforward with ordnance information.The "Old Man" shared that we were standing on the small arms/rifle range andthat he had himself fired his rifle there many years ago. He shared in themoment that he had been in a hospital nearby, healing from his wounds he wasso graciously awarded with during the Korean "Conflict". Before he was fullyhealed and still injured, he was taken from the hospital and brought to the
range to fire his rifle. The Marine Corps needed to know in that moment thatthis man (who was really a boy) was still capable of killing and dying for hiscountry and the cause. It was very important at that time for some odd reason.But, this is how the military operates. Our conversation ended and we said ourgood bye's. The team and I moved on and the man returned to the welcomecenter.It wasn't until later on that he and I connected once again in the parking lot andshared some more story and information. It was there that I learned that hewent to war at the age of 17. It was in that moment that he shared with me thathe was a Marine during the landing at Inchon -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Inchon- He also shared his anger/frustration with me inrelationship to General MacArther. He went on to share with me how ridiculouslystupid war is and was and how he himself had watched many of his friends diewhile taking a hill not once, not twice, but three times. Yes, the same hill, threetimes. Each time many men had died for this dirt pile. He went on to share withme that he was finally evacuated after battling his way out of the ChosinReservoir.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chosin_Reservoir He shared with me in that moment that there was one Marine Division withnearly 12,000 troops and one Army division that had been taken from Japan. Heshared with me that the Army Division was not properly trained before beingdeployed and were not prepared for war. He shared with me that the Armysoldiers ran because they had been living as an Occupation Force in Japan for solong during peace time that they were not ready for the fight.I shared with him that I, too, was a Veteran and had served in a number of places. It was then that the connection was made and he looked at me withdifferent eyes. I shared with him that I had been in Iraq (as a contractor) and hadserved in Somalia and Bosnia. He mentioned to me that when our new warkicked off 9 years ago he began to have memories and traumatic issues thatnearly landed him in the VA hospital. He shared with me that he had been at aconference in Florida in 2001 with 20 others. The issue of going to war came upwithin the group and 19 out of the 20 were gung ho and in support of invadingAfghanistan and Iraq, or where ever we needed to in order to get our revengeand defend our honor. This man, this Korean War Veteran opposed. He askedthe 19 others to write down the reasons why our country needed to go to war. Ican't recall their reasons, but in his shaky voice it seemed quite obvious to methat their reasons were quite redundant and futile. He shared with me, with his

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