I just watched a movie called “Home Of The Brave” on cable. It’s about four soldiers, a doctor, a woman truck driver, and two combat grunts, all who were involved in a serious attack against our troops, on a “mission of mercy” to assist Iraqis in a village with medical problems. They were hit with a roadside bomb, the woman lost her hand, one soldier fell while chasing the attackers, and seriously hurt his back, the second soldier was shot in the same pursuit, and both had to watch their buddy get killed, because neither of them were there to help him, as they were hurt. The doctor was in the same attack, in a vehicle behind the woman, and he did everything he could to keep everyone alive. Then they went home, back to the “world”, and their lives became seriously complicated, as they had no time to figure out their place in the world before they returned home. I have to admit my eyes were filled with moisture through the whole movie; it affected me in a way that no other movie ever has, because I lived that life myself.
I remember the combat, the guys who were blown apart, the ones who had arms and legs blown off, the dead little kids, victims of terror committed by the VC, the Viet Cong, the blood, the smell of death, the yearning to return home to my family, and the constant need to keep my eyes open, to watch for any possible attack, from every direction! And, as said in the movie, by the doctor; after a while the “emotion” of it all, the “emotion” that comes with the fear and visual horror of the war, the emotion of life itself, simply left me, and every day became just another day, regardless of how bad it got! Yeah, I would get “pumped up” during combat but, when it was over, the emotion was over, and life went back to being “normal”! See, you can’t fear the daily stress and death of combat, or you will go crazy, so you put it away, you hide it, and you get on with life! As we used to say in ‘Nam; “It don’t mean nuthin!”
Then I came home; one minute every day was a fight for survival, the next I was in a world of angry students, people who didn’t value anything but their own needs and happiness, and I was just another “baby killer”. I should have had somewhere to go to talk about what happened to me in the war, but I didn’t; none of us talked about it, none of us kept in touch, as we wanted to forget, to let it all go away, so it hid deep inside us, terrorizing our dreams, making us afraid to show any emotion, as it would destroy us! I wanted so bad to be normal, I wanted so bad to be “one of the guys” again, but I didn’t fit in, so I travelled the country, running from my nightmares, looking for acceptance in my life. I tried marriage, several times, but I would devote myself to my wife, yet I would be lied to, and have games played on me, normal things that happen, even in good marriages, but I would feel cheated, because I can’t really trust anyone, except another vet, so when I would open my trust to someone, and they would lie to me, or cheat on me, I couldn’t live with it anymore, and I would get a divorce. I didn’t want to, I wanted to work things out, but my heart wouldn’t let me do it, because it was fearful and fragile, and the trust between vets was the kind of trust I was looking for in a wife. If I couldn’t trust her to have my back, I couldn’t live with her, so I used divorce as an escape. And, whenever I would get a job, and do really well at it, which I did, I would get promoted. And, once promoted, I would begin to think I didn’t deserve it, that I wasn’t good enough as a person to get such an advancement, and I would quit and get another job. My life was difficult at times, but I got to see a great deal of this great country, I have met over a million people, and I enjoyed my travels, but I was always alone. And, maybe, that is the way my life was meant to be, but I can’t help but think that, if we had received the respect that our fathers had, when they returned home from World War II, my life, and all the lives of my brothers, would have been completely different! Now I live with PTSD, and I have learned to live as best I can, and am so proud to have served with the guys I did, and it is that honor that keeps me alive, and strong!
Seeing that movie tonight brought back all the memories, all the pain of my life since the war, and I saw what I knew was true about the kids we send over to Iraq and Afghanistan, that war is exactly the same on everyone, regardless of when, or where they fought! Those kids go to war, to do their duty to their country, to fight to protect the rights and freedoms of their families, and even the rights and freedoms of those who openly show their dislike, and hatred for our country, but are Americans and have a right to voice their opinions! They don’t ask for recognition or honor for putting their lives on the line, they don’t ask for special treatment or riches, they just want to stand up for the country they are proud of, to protect it against those who attack it, and want to destroy it! They are courageous, honorable, and extremely patriotic, and many back here, in the United States, could learn a lesson from seeing them sacrifice what they do to provide safety to all! When was the last time you saw a soldier, or a veteran, gain great fame because he got an agent and secured a very wealthy contract for doing his job, then became famous because he was a rich and vocal “Star”? When was the last time you saw a stadium filled with adoring fans for a soldier, or veteran when they returned home from a war? When was the last time you saw a soldier, or a veteran even begin to think they deserved that, simply because of “who they are”? Never! Why? Because they don’t want to become famous, they just want to do their job! Yet we have rock stars, movie and TV stars, politicians, sports “heroes”, and social “stars” who get fame and fortune, simply because they feel they deserve it, not because they sacrificed anything for anyone but themselves! So; I think it might be a great idea if parents began explaining what real “heroes” do for their country, and teach their children the difference between egotistical, arrogant “Stars”, who feel that the whole world owes them honor and special treatment, and Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and National Guardsmen who sacrifice everything for the safety and security of every American citizen! And, if they think this is “silly”, then they should be reminded that the only reason they have the option to feel that way is because someone sacrificed their life to allow them to do so!
And, now, we have a President, and his family, who waste our money on extravagant parties in the White House, on “Date Nights”, on one trip after another, to foreign lands, and other states, simply because they “want to”! They don’t honor the flag that soldiers died under, they don’t wear flag pins because they don’t want to “seem arrogant” to foreign leaders, they can’t remember that they are supposed to place their right hand over their heart when listening to the Star Spangled Banner, or when say the Pledge of Alliegence, and they state that they “only became proud of America, when he was elected”! Then we have Pelosi, Reed, Dodd, Frank, and so many others who were anti-war during Vietnam, who protested and spit on us when we came home, who made our lives so full of hell that a great many of my brothers killed themselves, lived isolated lives, or wound up on the streets, while they wasted our money living as fat cats, laughing at the citizens of this great nation as they opened our borders to anyone who wanted to cross! Tell me one single thing that any one of them ever did that caused them to have to sacrifice everything, simply to protect their nation! NOTHING! That’s what you’ll find, because the only thing that makes them feel important, the only thing that allows them to stand as the “powerful” leaders they are today is their hatred for our nation, and the citizens who live here! It’s time that we begin re-populating our government with people who have actually sacrificed for it, that have actually risked their lives to keep it safe and free! Combat soldiers don’t know racism, they know only brotherhood, honor, self-sacrifice and courage, and isn’t that what built this great nation in the first place? So, my fellow citizens, if you know of a true veteran, not a “Kerry Vet” kind of veteran, who is running for office, check with him, or her and, if you feel they stand for you and your rights, work with them to get them elected! And, if you need a reason to do so, watch the movie I watched tonight, “HOME OF THE BRAVE”, and you will understand why it is important to return control of our government back to the people, run by the people who fought to keep it free!
STAND UP AMERICANS, OR LOSE AMERICA!
Michael J. Kilgus