May 27th, 2009, 07:30 AM
Provocateur aka Wallyburger
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: via pacis
Memorial Day Letter from a Vietnam Vet: "People need to see what war really is, not t
Saved this, rather than post it on memorial Day.
Memorial Day Letter from a Vietnam Vet: "People need to see what war really is, not the Hollywood version"
by Mike Whitney | May 25, 2009 - 11:39am Share
Charlie Ehlen is a former Marine now living in Glenmora, Louisiana
Originally, Memorial Day was created to honor Union troops who had died during the "Civil War" but, eventually it was expanded to include all American troops killed in action. At first, it was called Decoration Day and was the traditional day for the running of the Indianapolis 500. Monday through Friday was Race Day. Now, we've changed all that so we get a long weekend and businesses can have special holiday sales and make a quick buck. Ain't America great?
I just finished an article about "Rolling Thunder", a patriotic group of ex-vets who ride their motorcycles to Washington DC every year to honor the men who died in Vietnam. The article tells how the group "lost their way" in recent years and turned into a pro-war group. The article repeats the myth that vets were spit when they got back from Nam. This is total CRAP! As a veteran of the Marine Corps and Vietnam, I never had any such experience, nor did ANY veteran I've ever talked to. It's a lie, plain and simple.
Another myth is that all Vietnam vets are drugged out criminals who lost all sense of morality.
That's just more BS. We were not all criminals.
The same crap is being spread about Arabic people today. Why? Because, like the "deranged Vietnam vet" of the 70's they're an easy target to blame and abuse. It's just another way of reinforcing stereotypes and building support for the war.
We don't see that every person we kill in a foreign country creates more radicals who hate us. It's like Vietnam all over again, only worse. America is just too bloody stupid to figure it out. We ever learn from our mistakes.
People need to see what war really is, not the Hollywood version. They need to know what it smells like on a battlefield, although that's impossible to transmit through TV or the movies
Having survived a tour in Vietnam, I'd like for all of these armchair generals and cheerleaders to see what war is really like-- the sights, the sounds,and the smells. That would cure them fast!
War is the most pornographic thing humans have ever devised. Trust me on this. Unless you've been in a war, you'll never, really understand what it's like. It's beyond your wildest dreams....or nightmares. It's just something you have to experience yourself. Then you'll hate it much as I do.
On this Memorial Day holiday, we need to remember not just the troops who have died in our wars, past and present, but all the people who've been killed or maimed from war.
semper fi charlie ehlen
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at
"I read the news today, oh boy"