It’s been two weeks exactly since we celebrated Veterans Day here in Delray Beach, FL There were parades, solemn ceremonies in cemeteries, mostly silent and unvisited on other days, and yes, even picnics and free food at the local restaurants; all contrived by patriotic and well meaning citizens as they struggled to comprehend the inevitability of war and the need for some among us to fight in them on behalf of their country.
For this old Vietnam Veteran, the famous “fog of war” has been rendered almost invisible by the 46 years that have passed since my squadron was rushed to Vietnam to replace another with newer aircraft that had been deployed to confront the possibility of a war with North Korea over their seizure of the USS Pueblo. Remember the Pueblo Crisis?
We were a ragtag bunch when we arrived—about 50% professional military pilots and 50% volunteers from the Atlantic City and Washington, DC Air National Guard—but we were good at what we did, and when we left Vietnam, we were absolutely certain we made a difference.
Every Veterans Day I find myself wondering why I volunteered to go to Vietnam, placing myself in harm’s way flying combat missions with a high probability of being shot down and being killed or captured. But this one is different. Miraculously, as I was writing these words an email came from an acquaintance I rarely hear from and the words it contained made it all perfectly clear. I don’t know who wrote them but here they are:
“Not for ourselves alone”
Not for us alone are we born;
our country, our community, our friends, and our families
all have a share in us as we have a share in them.
Heartfelt thanks to you for your service
and remembrances of our many friends
who have passed on in service to our Country.”
THANKS RAYMOND. YOU MADE MY DAY!!!
Tags: fog of war, pelicancomgroup, ronstanderfer, veterans day, vietnam war