MAY WE NEVER FORGET
Back in the late 90s, Nurse G and I visited Gettysburg. It was June and it seemed so humid that I would not have been surprised to have seen small flying insects suspended in mid-air. Up until that visit, I honestly could not have cared less about history in general and the Civil War in particular. As we toured the battlegrounds in an air-conditioned car, I made jokes about the weather as though I were one of the soldiers.
Sarge, I think I'll stay in bed today. My allergies are kicking up.
Can't make it today, Sarge. I washed my socks last night and they're still damp.
Sarge, can we move the battle closer to that shop? I want to buy some postcards.
However, in doing so, I began to really think of what it must have been like to actually have fought hand-to-hand combat, often in wretched conditions. I recalled that famous scene from Gone With The Wind in which you see nothing but acres of the wounded, the dying and the dead soldiers all laid out on the ground in rows waiting for the only doctor in Atlanta to attend to them. It was that trip to Gettysburg which made me truly appreciate what war is all about.
Historians Hunt for Purple Heart Stories: Cpl. Robert Frink was captured in Germany during the final months of World War II. He and two comrades were forced to swap uniforms with their Waffen SS captors, lined up and shot in the back of the head. Miraculously, the bullet entered Frink's neck and exited his cheek without shearing his spine or jugular vein. He even felt a German kick him as he lay bleeding. "Believe me, I played dead!" After his captors left, Frink fled, found some Canadian troops, and was saved. The wound earned him a Purple Heart.
Sixty-one years later, it is earning him an entry on the "Roll of Honor," a database being compiled for a museum honoring Purple Heart recipients. When the museum, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, opens in November, visitors will be able to search out facts and stories about soldiers wounded or killed. New York officials heading the project think _ though no one knows for sure _ there are up to 1.7 million soldiers who belong on the list.
So they're putting out a call: If you or a family member has been awarded the Purple Heart, they want you.
More precisely, they want your information for the most comprehensive list of American military sacrifice.
That article reminded me of John Kerry's three Purple Hearts, which he acquired within 101 days in Vietnam (the bulk of his stay). Back in 2004, his site was loaded with info on his military record. However, when I checked today, it appears that Kerry stripped his own site of its previously posted links to his military records, leaving only a brief synopsis.
These sites still have the info:
8 Kerry's Purple Hearts, with quotes from the Boston Globe.
8 Sen. Kerry's Vietnam Medals Evaluation Report, which was compiled by someone who goes by the name of The Bandit.
8 ACE on John Kerry's medals (Sunday, 25 January 2004): How did John Kerry earn his medals in Vietnam?
I have a feeling that the particulars of Kerry's three Purple Hearts will be argued for years to come. But one thing is certain: his wounds were minor. Nothing like that of Cpl. Frink's experience (above).
I wouldn't bring this up if it weren't for L'Fraude himself resurrecting his glory days in Vietnam.
I don't mind talking about his military experiences, like his lie about his Excellent Christmas Eve Cambodian Adventure.
Ooops! JANUARY -- NOT CHRISTMAS -- KERRY IN CAMBODIA
To which Pat replied: This is a little odd, because Brinkley, of course, did not include the Christmas in Cambodia story in Tour of Duty. Indeed, the thing that clued [Pat at KerryHaters] into the fact that there was something odd going on here was the fact that Brinkley did not mention the Cambodian incursion.
And let's not forget his story of THE HAT!: A close associate hints: There's a secret compartment in Kerry's briefcase. He carries the black attaché everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case.
"Who told you?" he demanded as he reached inside. "My friends don't know about this."
The hat was a little mildewy. The green camouflage was fading, the seams fraying.
"My good luck hat," Kerry said, happy to see it. "Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia."
Kerry put on the hat, pulling the brim over his forehead. His blue button-down shirt and tie clashed with the camouflage. He pointed his finger and raised his thumb, creating an imaginary gun. He looked silly, yet suddenly his campaign message was clear: Citizen-soldier. Linking patriotism to public service. It wasn't complex after all; it was Kerry.
He smiled and aimed his finger: "Pow."
While we're on the subject of fiction ...
8 My KERRY FICTION: Gnat Grudge here, reporting for the Stars and Stripes. I’m here at the 44th Medical Unit Hospital in Sa Dec talking with Majors Margaret Houlihan and Frank Burns who treated Lt. Kerry on Christmas Eve.
8 Pat's John F. Kerry Fan Fiction: It was a dark and stormy Christmas Eve on the Mekong. We had left Sa Dec a few hours earlier, and were still exhilarated over the adventure of the drawbridge. As we came out of the town we realized that even with the drawbridge up all the way, we'd have very little clearance. But we decided to gun it rather than wait for low tide and made it through with about an inch to spare. The villagers who had come to watch us smash up applauded politely.
I've gotten the distinct impression from him that the military is generally beneath him, a stepping stone on a career path, something to use for votes. His post-Vietnam War actions have become well known: Kerry, in his own words. No wonder that Kerry is a war hero to the Communists.
Now here's a worthwhile documentary about Vietnam.
Veteran hopes movie will paint true picture of Vietnam: Roush found out that, like himself, many other Vietnam veterans were proud of their service. They came away from the war with a clear conscience, no worse for the wear than veterans of any other war.
"What unfortunately happened, we've been betrayed by the news media and Hollywood. It painted the wrong picture in society about us. We've had to live with that for 30 years," he said.
Roush said many of the veterans interviewed for "In the Shadow of the Blade," those who had flown into or out of the jungle in the helicopter, felt a huge burden was lifted by the documentary experience.
They thought the documentary validated their service.
"It doesn't show Vietnam veterans as victims. It shows some sad stories but it accurately displays who we are, what we were and what we became," he said.