|Michael "Surfer" Lansford|
I have been thinking about all this all night -- I don't sleep much at nights anyway, so I am going to try and carry this story all the way home, if possible. Mainly, I just hope not to offend anyone with my writings, but it was, and is, the world I live in.
I have been reading the other stories other Vets are writing. Very moving. Bravery most in this world will never know and probably will never have to do. Each of us had our own part we dealt with over there.
Even by writing about it, nothing can come close to the horrors of war we lived every day and most of us were just teens. It's hard to suddenly have to grow up, or else.
As we took off on that plane for home, I remember it all seemed like some kind of dream. It was something we all hoped for, for so long and we were finally headed back to the world for real.
Everyone yelled out as we lifted off, but no one said a word going home. We were all in shock. What do we do now? How has life changed at home? Have I been missed? Will anyone even remember me? What will I say and do when I land? We all had tons of questions, but no answers.
The protesters answered most of those questions for us when we landed. I'll get to that story later and with a few in country excerpts to go with it. Some things I forgot, but my memory of everything is slowly coming back.
To this day, if given the choice, I still wouldn't want to know. I changed so much during that time as I'm sure they did too. No regrets, no grudges, no hate.
It's like the protesters, as I see it. They at least stood up for something, but they still should have backed us. Yet they had no clue about war as it is so vividly shown on TV now days. Maybe if they had, they would have seen us in a different light.
There are far worse and much braver stories from us all. We each had our own hills, and valleys, and jungles, to fight. Some were worse and some are probably best forgotten. We each deal with it in our own way. The roads of life we all are set upon, but how we travel them is up to us.
We travel and live in a different world than most of the people. It's kind of like a saying, "Time stopped for those of us that went off to our war."
Unlike today's war, in The Nam there was no way to communicate with the outside world, except letters for most of us. So now, as for me, my life has been and may always be two years behind the rest of the world. We can never catch up to the lost time. It's gone forever. All we have is right now, today.
Choices. That's what our world was and is about. We all have to make choices. You have to pick the best one for you and always know you made the right choice for that time. You never second guess yourself about life. You don't get to start over, or hit reset and begin again.
Guess I'm doing okay for a nobody from a small town no one ever heard of whose only aspirations were to play football, nothing more. Then to leave home and endure a world unthinkable that most could never fathom, much less survive.
No matter what, we all served our country with Honor, Dignity, and Respect. I remember the Oath we took -- its forever. Right, or wrong, we defended America with our lives and NO ONE can ever take that away.
Michael "SURFER" Lansford
Life in the Jungle
“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale
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