Friday, July 6, 2012

A PERSONAL JOURNEY

I just joined the American Legion.  I've stayed away from veteran's organizations for many years because I wanted to put it behind me.  Well, as you get older things become more important to you. That's why I posted with the Security Police badge of the US Air Force.   I watched the video that my friend Z posted and it made me think that what one accomplishes in life is important and really is a big part of you.  When I went to Vietnam I didn't really think about it too much.  I put it behind me and moved on. 

I was lucky enough to have a great career in law enforcement that lasted 26 years.  Then I put that behind me.  Now I teach high school and I love it.  What I didn't realize is that whether we know it or not, we live in the present.  And that's a good thing I think.  Most importantly, what I didn't realize is that no matter how hard we try our experiences are a part of us.  It becomes us, I think.  I figured out that I am the sum total of my experiences.  No matter how hard you try to put things away, they are really always there. 

When I watched the video I broke down.  My first thought was where the hell did that come from?  My wife, in her wisdom, asked if I was alright.  My only answer was "I guess something is still down there?"  Her answer, "Never apologize for that."  So I won't.  This is where I've been for so long.  I wanted to post stuff, but it didn't really matter to me.  I lost my Dad and my Mom had a lot of medical problems and it didn't really matter.  Now I know that posting is cathartic.  I'm trying to get some kind of rhythm going but it's not easy.  I'll keep at it and I'll get there. 

6 comments:

PRH....... said...

Life has bumps and ups and downs....I really never thought much about my service, or Vietnam, until nearly 30 years later, in 1999. Now, while I don't live in the past, it comes to mind, almost everyday....and that is a good thing, because my memories of those 4 years are a positive, especially that time at Nha Trang and Tan Son Nhut.

Average American said...

Welcome to the American Legion my friend! I hope you find your post to be a big plus in your life, I know I did. Myself, it was the first Gulf War that finally got me talking and thinking about Vietnam. Hadn't said a single word about it until then. Guess I just didn't want to chance being spit on again. When our guys came home from the gulf, the Vietnam Vets and the Korean Vets made G-D sure things were better for them. We threw a bash for every one of them as they returned whether one at a time or in groups. Made my heart feel good.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Pat and AA,
It's good to get it out in the open right? Made me feel good and I needed to accept that I had done something good. I always make sure to shake the hand of every service member I see. I wish someone had done that for us. Thanks for the visit guys.

Rita said...

Aww MAN. I've read some of your comments at Z's but had never been here before. Let me tell you my friend, I know full well how hidden those issues can be and how long before they might resurface. This was the story I wrote for my husband.

Just within the last few years he's been experiencing symptoms of PSTD but of course the VA doesn't think that because he's lived a normal life, doesn't walk in the place dressed in fatigues from 50 years ago and can and always has been able to function in society.

Those memories can get buried pretty deep.

It sounds to me like you'll find a lot of similarities in his story.

It may be difficult, but it's important to tell your stories. We let so many of our WWII and Korea Vets pass away without ever knowing real history, not something scrubbed in a high school History book.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Rita,
Thanks for visit. It's nice to have you at my site. This has been a weird experience for me, but I feel I've gotten through it. I'll read your story. Thanks for the understanding.

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