"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 13, 2014

More Thoughts on War and Youth

Frank Fox

by Frank Fox

I think that men in uniform serve their country by serving each other. They serve as a unit, just as any team such as a professional baseball team, because the military are professionals.

In a ballgame it doesn't take much to empty a dugout. If one player gets in a conflict, the rest will jump into the fray.

The same is true with the military. They are there as a team and duty bound to one another. Being away from home, they are in a different dimension of time from loved one's and family. They are forever young. It's why veterans stick together -- they are still apart of a team.

I served with a Corpsman named Danny Grimshaw. He lost his life in 1968. I can put his name in search and it will tell me all about Danny and how many brothers and sisters he had. It will tell me where his name is on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It has his photo, also in uniform.

What always grabs me is how young he is in the photo, frozen in time. When I look at myself in the mirror, I see an aging senior citizen, like a different dimension in time. Danny died 46 years ago. I can remember him most for always mooching smokes from everyone, and how rail thin he was. I also remember how much he loved his family and felt he was sacrificing for them.

Over 58,000 soldiers, men and women, forever frozen in time. I also think that for everyone of them, there was a bus load of families left with a large void. Time and other family events help to fill the void, God helps us that way mercifully.

When I got off of active duty in June 1968, I had an anger at the youth who escaped the Vietnam Conflict by moving to Canada. Many moved with the help of their parents to avoid the draft and being thrown into the meat grinder that Vietnam was.

"How dare they turn their backs on America." I thought at the time. Then I was outraged when Jimmy Carter decided to give amnesty to the draft dodgers. What a slap in the faces of those who were led to slaughter by their government.

Then as one get's older, they realize how the government capriciously uses the youth of our country to wage war, maybe for no reason, and usually always for profit of big business, and real estate.

During WW2, when the men were away, many took advantage of their families and wrested their land and property away from them for a song. Making profit off of young men and women serving their country should be a criminal offense.

After I became a parent, I grew rather fond of my children. If I were to follow mainstream politics and see where warring was not really necessary, just the whim of an idiot running the country, I too may find a way to keep my children from being thrown under the bus.

Then the war in Iraq started, (which I was against); nevertheless, many parents had children who could not wait to go and sign up, to get some pay back. Smoke and mirrors. What they really couldn't see was industry wringing their hands, just waiting to increase their profits. The 'machine' stirred up the people to get the nation on their side. Really talented people prevaricated us into another conflict that would consume our precious youth.

Other people with small children thought the war would be over and their children would not be in peril. Now their children are of age, and just as always (about 10 years), we tire of warring. Companies have reaped large gains without any of their skin in the game.

Sadly, some parents are only left with photo's and VHS memories. Others have their children back, but they will need constant care for many years and a life time of disability.

We need only to pick up arms, when we are threatened at home or abroad. There's not a vet who would not fight for this country and it's flag, IF we aren't lied to, and the cause a just one. They use minds they can bend in our youth. After we get older, we would question aggressive force.

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

More Articles by Frank Fox:

A Different Perspective

“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

You are invited to add an opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. Or, write about anything you want to share and send it to me in an e-mail and I will post it for you.  E-mail CJ

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog.


  1. With the Middle East situation - it is so much parallel to Nam once it became a BIG MONEY and political game.....dragging it out and making the Military a police force. No GOALS established.....just keep on plodding along. I never would have thought I would ever consider RESTRICTING my boys from serving in the military - BUT - had they wanted to go to CANADA - I likely would have supported them. I am so tired of POLITICIANS and BIG BUSINESS sacrificing the YOUTH of this great country for Monetary and Political gains. This seems to happen on an ongoing basis. WAR is HELL and not a "game" - Freedom is a Taste the Protected Will Never Know!

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  3. Well said...there a number of unwritten rules in the code of brothers in the military. There is a bond that goes deeper than family when serving in a combat zone. Everyone who has been there, knows it and it is based on knowing, I got your back and you got mine. it is not the same in peace time but, combat soldiers can turn it on in heartbeat when needed. That brotherhood stays with us until we die. Dannie Watkins, 173rd Airborne 67-68

  4. I know my mind has been somewhat altered with time, but not to the degree that I have altered my basic beliefs, and, being one of those eternal optimists as I have always been, and still believing that there remains hope for our dear country, I still would have a tough time sending or even supporting my boys going off to a foreign country to escape supporting whatever my country or leaders shove us into. I do have three boys, two of whom were in the Army and did go over to the desert, one to Afghanistan and the other to Iraq and everywhere else that rangers go over there. I thank the Lord that neither of them ever came under any of the firefights similar to those that I went through. They both returned in tact with no Purple Hearts. They served well, and I respect them for it, and I am sure they returned with self-respect. They are truly good guys. :)


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