Truer words have seldom been spoken

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Well-known member
Dec 28, 2003
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MO Ozarks
I have no idea who wrote this, but it is the best I have read on the subject.


I'm not worthy to question John Kerry's war record.

Because I don't have one.

I spent the Vietnam War in elementary school. And the four years I was in the
Army were all behind a desk. My fort was unofficially known as "Uncle Ben's
Rest Home."

So I don't know anything about war.

Though I do know a little bit about men who've been to war. I've been around
plenty of those.

Like my step-father.

He got bunged up pretty bad in France. I know that because I saw him in a
swimming suit once.

But he never talked about it.

Not once.

If you asked him about the war he'd tell hilarious stories about basic training,
or where the guys he served with were from, or how fun it was learning to fly
the gliders, or the time they stole the ambulance to go into town and get drunk
in France, or a few of the phrases in German he learned.
But he'd never actually talk about the war.

Unless he was really drunk.

In which case he still wouldn't talk about it. He'd cry about it. He'd put his head
in his arms in the wee hours of the morning and sob to himself about how the
men around him were broken and torn when the gliders crash landed into the
French countryside.

But that was only once or twice, and that was never about him.

And the little box of medals at the bottom of his footlocker never came out.

It was kind of the same way at the Legion and the VFW. Every day he'd check
in at both places, to sign the book and to have a beer, and I would tag along.
All those men had been in the service, and most had been in combat, but I never
heard a war story.

Lots of Army stories, and Navy stories, sure. About guys they knew and leaves
they were on and officers they messed with. But nothing about the war.

It was the same way in the Army.

In my day, it seemed like everybody above staff sergeant or captain had been in
Vietnam. I went in 10 years after the war ended but the guys on the second half
of their careers had all gone.

You could tell when they wore their dress uniforms.

But that was the only time.

Men didn't talk about what they'd done in the war. They didn't boast of their
accomplishments. They didn't brag about their medals. But if you chanced to
see them in their dress uniforms, with the rows of service ribbons, you could
read their history there, you could see that those who'd done the most spoke
of it the least.

Like one of our drill sergeants in basic training.

Buffing the floor in his office one day we saw the service ribbons pinned to his
Class A uniform on the coat rack. Comparing them to the poster in the company
day room we learned he'd gotten the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple

We asked about them and he made us do push-ups for being nosey.

The night before graduation, when he welcomed us as fellow soldiers, we asked
him again, we almost pestered him. Finally he relented and gave us two sentences:
"I was in a war. I got hurt."

And that's all he'd say.

Kind of like a man I know, who received the Medal of Honor. One night he stood in
a long line to shake hands with Colin Powell. The man, because of the nature of the
event, wore his medal around his neck.

As he came to Colin Powell the man said, "General, it's an honor to meet you."

And Colin Powell responded, "No, sir - it's an honor to meet you."

Anyway, I know this man, and he's often asked to tell his story, of how he earned the
Medal of Honor. And he never does. Oh, he answers, and he talks, and he inspires,
and he talks about the war.

But he neglects the part about the lives he saved and the courage he showed, and
instead talks about a young Vietnamese man who helped him to safety when his legs
were too shot through to hold him anymore.

I don't know anything about war.

But I do know a little bit about men who've gone to war.

And none of them act the way John Kerry does.

None of them brag about, boast of, talk about or otherwise try to benefit from their
service. They don't prostitute their time in uniform for personal gain and ambition.

They all modestly and insistently say that they "didn't do anything."They minimize
their contributions and put them in the context of the similarly courageous and noble
service provided by their comrades.

A true hero doesn't boast.

In fact, he kind of keeps his deeds to himself. Which is what makes John Kerry so
different. Which is what makes John Kerry so unbelievable.

I don't know war.

But I do know war heroes.

And he's not one of them.
Dun I have to agree with you on this one, my uncle made the beach landings on Iwo Jima and Okinwa(sp) and several others. I was given his dress uniform upon death, it has the Navy Cross and purple heart on it. I never heard anything but jokes nothing serious I never new of the medals he won he left us in 99. In a trunk were pictures of Iwo Jima of things no one should every see.
When my uncle came back from Vietnam, If we had to wake him up, (like if his alarm clock did not work,and he had to get up for work) We had to lightly touch him with a broom handle. As soon as he was touched he would jump up in the bed , and be crouched in a fighting position!!
He doesn't talk about it much at all.
Thanks for the post Dun!!
Just the other day I was talking to a friend's dad and the subject of a Vetrans Memorial came up. He mentioned when he enlisted and I asked him where he was on D-Day. He said he landed on Omaha Beach on the second day, was in the Battle of the Bulge and several others. No details, no gloating, no bragging, just that he was there.
Many years ago I worked with a guy that it turned out had multiple Congressional Medal of Honor, several Silver and Bronze stars. The only reason I found out was because we had a full dress inspection and he had medals hangin off of him and the CO stopped and rendered to him a hand salute. When I got him to talk about it he just said he was at Pearl and during the war had several ships shot out from under him.
When I recvd the original post I'll admit it brought a tear to my eyes

When my uncle came back from Vietnam, If we had to wake him up, (like if his alarm clock did not work,and he had to get up for work) We had to lightly touch him with a broom handle. As soon as he was touched he would jump up in the bed , and be crouched in a fighting position!!
He doesn't talk about it much at all.
Thanks for the post Dun!!

My uncle is the same way to this day. He has never spoken a word about it to anyone.
It was pretty hard to get Grandpa to tell me about the B-17 bomber groups. He told about meeting the King and Queen of England. Said the King was an arse but that queen was alright. Grandma gave me some pictures after he passed and it amazes me how he wouldn't talk about some of that stuff. Little things like a flak hole the size of a car in the side of his plane. And another with the ball turret blown off. Guess them fellers would just rather go on and try to forget. Interesting point Dun.
An old friend of mine runs the local hardware store (at 80 years young). He is one of the toughest old guys I know. I knew he was in the war, but he would never talk about the war. He would just scold people for buying Japanese. I found out from his nephew, who found out from his aunt as his uncle wouldn't speak of it, that the old man had been at Iwo Jima, Guatalcanal and had served on recon missions on about every island in the Pacific. I can't even begin to imagine the horrors that he saw.

Just have to step in and say something. I've had the opportunity to talk to quite a few kids (yes I'm getting to that age where I can say that) coming back from Iraq and I'm absolutely proud of the American service member. They are doing a super job up there. I hear what they are doing and I see their photos that won't be made public and I just want you to know we are sending a lot of heros home. These are great "kids" and America can be proud of them.

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