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VIETNAM SUMMARY 2003 MESSAGE The soldier is a warrior and must live by a code. A sentry for America who stands between slavery and freedom for his family and love ones. Soldiers kill people and soldiers get killed. They die for their country. In reality they fight for each other. They train day and night for months and years. Soldiers honor, serve and obey America and hold her above all others. Can I rationalize a war where 60% to 70% of the casualties were civilians? Did those children, women and old people have too die? Why? There is no glamour or honor in war. "I love thee dear so much love I not honor more " Open the gates and fools rush in- "Once a Fool. " America the beautiful from sea to shining sea. The movies make war look so glorious and when your first friend is killed you know it was all a lie. After you get over the initial shock, you're torn between elation and guilt. Elation because it wasn't you who was killed and guilt for even thinking that way. All any man wants is to leave this world with a little dignity, believing that some how he made a difference. Just maybe this is a better place because he was a visitor here for a brief period. He hopes to be remembered for the good deeds and forgotten for the embarrassing moments when expectations were not met. However, one is remembered as a whole being, good and bad. You come into this world in less than a spectacular way, more often through pain. No clothes, crying, smacked on the bottom, complaining and very helpless. Many of us leave this world in the same way, minus the smacked bottom. A few Americans refused service induction and paid a price. Other Americans went to Vietnam and paid a greater price. Did over 58,000 Americans have too die in Vietnam? We who made it home must speak for them by making a contribution, a difference. I became a school teacher to affect the way young people think. If we are to survive, our leaders can not make the same historical mistakes. I hope the Vietnam people will someday forgive me. If I am to turn the page of my life and live; I must forgive all those who have trespassed against me. There will be a time when I can forgive the United States Government from President Kennedy to Henry Kissinger for sending American soldiers to Vietnam. Yes, I am over fifty now, I must forgive and forget the Vietnam experience so I can move on with my life. A soldier should not feel sorry for himself. No one cares; he is alone in his world. Soldiers were in Vietnam completing service obligations while their friends were getting married and finishing college. People in the United States were moving on with their lives. Many soldiers came home sick and or wounded to a hostile environment and difficult times. As they healed, trying to adjust to civilian life, the student demonstrations and war protest continued. There were few job offers, only cries of baby killers and war losers. Today, many Vietnam soldiers are here in body but they never made it back. Everyone who served in that war died a little and if you weren't there you will never understand. The country has changed forever. Hopefully, we have all changed for the better. We as a people will never be the same again. There will be a time I can forgive everyone and forgive myself so I can come to closure, but not today.