I think I actually had the pleasure of growing up in a country that was not that bad when I was a child. What I am meaning is that the world was not at unrest as it is now,nowhere near the unrest that it is today. None of my friends were ever into politics and we actually had no opinions about anything that had to do with the state of the world was in or even the current events.We heard on the news that Iran had captured some of our citizens and someone had blew up our soldiers in Lebanon,but that was just so far from us and they seemed like isolated incidents.I do remember hearing that the King of Saudi Arabia had beheaded his granddaughter but that was just crazy and we knew that nothing like that would ever happen here.Those were about the only things that I remember hearing about and we did not worry because we were taught we were the strongest army in the world and no one would ever dare step foot on our soil and hurt us. We fully believed that too and so we did not worry about things. We very seldom even mentioned religion to each other, the only political matters that I ever remember us discussing was the matter of abortion and the subject of G-d,or more precisely if there was a G-d or not. The only thing that growing up in this period of relative peace for America was that it put me years behind in learning or even caring about “Politics and Religion”,I did not even think about the horrors that some people were living under in our world.We did not understand why anyone would become a hippie,yuppie or even a yippie. Political issues just did not apply to us, or so we thought.Sure the world was in chaos in some places but they were not major news to us.We had no wars that America was really involved in during these years and we had no real complaints about our government as young people or teenagers, like these kids seem to do today. Now I see it really did seem that it was a peaceful time to grow up in America. Out of all of my friends and neighbors my father was the only one who was in the Vietnam War,the only other person I knew that was in the Vietnam war was my father’s childhood friend and they hardly ever talked about it. My uncle was in the war and my father’s friend’s brothers were but they were hardly ever in my life either. I know that my parents always talked about his friends brother being a crazy Vet and then we he showed up in our lives for a short period and he did seem crazy to us.But,my father was the only person I ver heard talk about political issues and he seemed crazy to me also.I could never see what he was talking about because I was too young to understand.
I was born at the very end of the notorious ‘Summer of Love” in 1967,and of course I had no idea what that was until much later in my life. By the time I was old enough to even realize that there was a whole world around me all the wars were over,that America was blatantly involved in I should say.There was also this thing called the “Cold War” and I sure had no idea what that was about,I knew it had something to do with the Russians or to be politically correct the”Soviet Union” who were communist,whatever that meant. The Vietnam war had ended in 1975. My father and his brother fought in that war. My uncle did 4 tours and was a Master sergeant in the US Army and my father was a Marine who was in Vietnam when our government was denying that we(our troops) were there in Vietnam, even to this day he has nothing that says he was there at that time and when he has to prove that he was in Vietnam at that time he has a number to prove it, because it is still classified information today. He cannot even tell you exactly where he was at,where his base was,of course he knew he entered the country through Danang or some place like that VIA the Phillipines, but after that he does not know his precise location, they were not told exactly where they were .He says all he knows is that he and is platoon was dropped off in the middle of the jungle and built an air strip and it was very close to the Laos and Cambodian borders inside of Vietnam. He was a jet mechanic and he sent the bombers out that was not supposed to even be there let a lone bombing anything.He never even told me anything about this until I was probably 40 years old.He also said they were under attack almost every single night they were there. He would also go on missions and collect the dead bodies of his fellow Marines that was sometimes no more than pieces of bone and flesh.I do not know if this was because they were shot out of the sky or if they were people who had been on patrol and had stepped on land mines.I know that at least once he had to fight the Vietnamese soldiers in close proximity and a friend of his was killed and another wounded very bad. That is about all I know about him being in Vietnam.
As a kid I knew that Vietnam Veterans were thought of badly in most cases and people who had been in the war that came home mentally scarred were always referred to as “Crazy Vietnam Vet’s”, there was never any sympathy showed to them that I ever witnessed,my own father referred to people that way too.I now realize that he was one of those crazy vet’s he talked about because he is also scarred mentally from what he did experience there. The very first time I heard this expression was when a close family friend had brother come home who was labeled as a “Crazy Vietnam Vet”. We children were never allowed around him for some reason and were always whisked away when he showed up and sent to another house.The little contact I did have with him always made me question what they said about him,because he was always very nice to us kids and spoke to us on our own level. I always think about this even after what he did,and really think us kids had nothing to fear from this man it was the adults who should have and were afraid of him. My father grew up with this family and the mother and my Grandmother were friend until death and always hung around together until my Grandmother died. The one son of this woman and my father had been best friends during childhood and we lived a block apart from each other then.
One late afternoon in the summer I remember the entrance to the river that was across the street from our house was closed off by the police and at this entrance was the big dam. Earlier that afternoon I had heard gun shots,but I never thought anything of it because we always heard them coming from the river area and the sound of fire cracker’s and m-80’s being lit off. A few minutes after I noticed the river entrance was closed off I remember my dad coming home half laughing and half shaking his head saying that NONAME had finally flipped his wig and good this time.He had driven his Volkswagen out onto the dam and could not get it off and was trying to kill it,he thought it was alive.I think he was trying to get away from the police but I do not remember exactly what happened because that was a long time ago.Any way he was stuck out there on the dam with his car. Noname had become a big LSD taker in Vietnam and a drunk and he continued to take it and drink when he got back to the world as the Vet’s called getting back to the states.
I also remember the reason why NONAME was driving that little car too. He had gotten all messed up a couple weeks before this incident on the dam and started having flashback’s from the war and probably acid flashbacks too. He started shooting into the back of his van telling everyone on the street to get back that he would save them that there was a Bear in the back of it.I guess that is possible considering we do not have Elephants here in the US and we do have bears LOL.He did go to jail for that one, but he did not stay long.
So, back to the dam incident. My father said that earlier in the day Noname had held his own father hostage and even shot his gun at him in his father’s trailer and told him he was going to kill him for something the father had did to him when Noname was a child.Then Noname had taken off from the scene before the police could catch him for trying to kill his father and that’s how he ended up on the dam shooting at his Volkswagon.Well, the police got him that day and I never heard another thing about Noname for years.I am sure they put him in jail or took him to the nearest loony bin and kept him for a long time. However, that was my introduction to a “Crazy Vietnam Vet” when I was about 8 or 9 years old. So, from then on when someone said that someone was a Crazy Vietnam Vet I fully believed them.However,I did not realize that crazy comes in degree’s either.
Other than that incident I had never had an experience that was negative from a veteran of our wars and my family has a few or I should say had a few because most are dead now.I think my father is probably the only living Vet in our family now.I remember that my parents used to always say that none of their children would ever fight in an unjust war as my father had and even though we as kids did not see the damage the war did do to him it was there.I guess we did see it but it was not in the form that we really think crazy is.Like Noname shooting at bears and live Volkswagen’s I did want to mention what Noname did in the war.He volunteered for 2 extra tours and the last two he drove one of those PT boats on the rivers in Vietnam.Just like Chief did in Apocalypse Now, or so the myth goes.