and to my facebook friend, Kanani.
On veterans returning home ...
... a point of view that I still hold to.
Further thoughts as to the "Why" of my opinion:
- The returning vet went.
- The other remained behind.
- The returning vet dared.
- The other kept safe.
- Except for family and friends, the other forgot that the vet had ever been.
- The stay-behinds feathered their own soft nests.
This is perfectly portrayed in the film,
"The Best Years of Our Lives."
Dana Andrews' character, Captain Fred Derry,
had been a bombardier on a B-17. He had flown all
of those gut-twisting missions, hanging on to his
sanity by his fingernails ...
(with a lot of help from the whiskey bottle.)
Post war and the stay-behind 4-F drug store manager
can now lord it over Derry and offers him the job of
soda-jerk at the store's fountain. He then proceeds to
monitor, and criticize, Derry's every move, explaining
that things have changed ... Derry was no longer a big
shot Air Corps bombardier ... and so on.
(Watching this movie years ago, I wanted to take this
snotty pencil-neck out back and kick his ass royally.)
Then, there was the true story told by Vietnam vet
Lynda Van Devanter in her book, "Home Before Morning."
The one point that struck me, while reading, was her efforts
at trying to find a bit of romance and instead finding that all
the young men she met appeared to be two-dimensional
characters to her, now with her war-born perspectives on life.
Life does get lonely when one cannot find another of one's own
There's a chasm between the veteran and the non.
Time slowly narrows that chasm, drawing the two
back together. The key word, here, is "time." In today's
reality of multiple deployments, there seems no time for
the soldier to fully adjust to civilian thought patterns,
The civilian has absolutely no clue about what it is that
drives the veteran's feelings and thought processes.
Communication is possible only after much contact and
Post-return disagreements, generally, cause this chain of
thought in most vets ... "Dumb Fuck! Back in the 'Nam
I coulda capped your ass and finished this up real fuckin' quick."
(Insert "Back in the 'Stan ... " to bring this quote up to date.)
The poor civilian probably has no clue that this is going
on in the vet's head. The vet never plans on acting on this
feeling ... it's just an automatic reaction upon meeting up
with actual callous stupidity face-to-face.
(God's truth ... can't tell you how many dumb-fuck civilians
I encountered, and dearly wanted to butt-stroke, after I returned
home from Vietnam.)
PS: Checking family files back through WWI,
I've noted the following:
Family members in the military ...
- U.S. Army - 5
- U.S. Navy - 6
- USMC - 2
- U.S. Air Force - 0
- U.S. Coast Guard - 1