"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Different Perspective

Frank Fox

By Frank Fox

A hand salute to all who served.

From a different perspective, I didn't realize until I had children of my own what parents go through, especially the Moms out there, when a child is away and fighting in a conflict.

My brother and I were both serving at the same time in Vietnam.

I didn't realize how what was going on in Vietnam affected Moms and Dads at home, until I got home in 1968. At the time, my brother was still in country.

In the evenings, you just couldn't get away from bad news in Vietnam. The war was on the front page of the newspaper and on TV nightly, the first conflict where reporters and film footage could virtually get stories and film footage home the same day.

During the Vietnam conflict, they would show the videos on TV of bodies slung under a helicopter, bodies lined up and covered with poncho's, or in body bags. It must have been gruesome for parents sitting in front of the TV watching it from kitchens and living rooms across the country.

My Mom might not have been dressed up in the latest fashion, maybe only a flower print dress most days, but I watched her wring her hands and pace the floor, chewing on her lip. It ate on her every day. I can only imagine what she went through with both sons away from home.

Multiply that by all the parents daily in any conflict.

We weren't from a generation that had the technology to talk to loved ones. The Vietnam generation seldom got a patch to the states, and no e-mail, it was mostly all snail mail. 

When both of her sons were finally home, Mom got back most of her former personality. I can only imagine the prayers that went up, then and now.

Young men and women new to conflicts don't get to see that until they get home.  Then unfortunately, the cycle repeats itself with the next generation, when they replace their parents anxiously waiting at home, because we get involved in a conflict somewhere else.

God bless all Mom's, they need medals and ribbons -- they've earned them.

Frank Fox
Combat Medic
Sea/Air Rescue
US Navy with USMC
August 1964 – August 1970 (6 years 1 month)

“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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  1. Frank, you hit the proverbial nail on the head with....

    "We weren't from a generation that had the technology to talk to loved ones. The Vietnam generation seldom got a patch to the states, and no e-mail, it was mostly all snail mail."

    The snail mail was the only way to really communicate with loved ones back home. Even with that-It was slow to say the least. Those whom were fortunate and back at a base camp where there may have been the access to a MARS station were able to communicate via this method as a radio relay phone station. All one had to do is remember to say "OVER" on completing a sentence. Otherwise with the delay in voices traveling then over great distance back home all could be talking at once and it was all garbled. I only had the opportunity to do this ONCE. Even had I had the chance to do this radio commo back home - I would have DECLINED! It was just too hard on mom and dad. The quivering voices and the emotions were just too much - so snail mail it was. Mom and Dd (both gone now) kept all my letters home and I have them somewhere. I had brought all mine from my mom and dad home when I DEROSD - however I did destroy them as they had jungle rot and the smell of the NAM all over them. When I dig them out (as I promised CJ here) I would send some for posting in this blog. Scanned Originals!!!

  2. I had an 'awakening' as well when I overheard my father telling someone about his experience with me ( a Marine) and his brother (also a Marine) in country at the same time. I guess I thought I could take care of myself and didn't think about the effect on Mom and Pop with their 19 year old Marine Corporal, 2 years out of high school at war.
    Greg Ditzler in-country May of 1969 til May of 1970, Marine Air Reconnaisance


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