Thursday, September 08, 2005

Menace

I thought I could make this longer and more interesting, but I don't know how, even though I have tried several times. I decided to write it down anyway before all of my memories fade.

I landed at Danang Airbase on November 10, 1967. I was a 19 year old Marine then. I boarded a transport truck with a couple of friends. We drove north on highway 1 to a large supply base close by the sea where I was to be stationed the next year and sixteen days.

The monsoon season started the day after I arrived. It grew cold and rained all the time for four months until the sun came out one March day. It did not rain again until the next November when we were hit by the outer edges of a large typhoon. That was good because the war stopped for two or three days. I digress.

The Tet Offensive started at the beginning of 1968, but my base was not attacked. The relative safety of my base made me oblivious to the war for awhile. But that changed.

One night, shortly before lights out, a rocket landed not far away from the Quonset hut in which I was living. We ran into the bunker beside our hut. We huddled in the dark while the remaining rounds came in. I looked around in the dark trying determine whether the others were as afraid as I. Later, during other attacks, I would discovered they were.

I have always felt somebody seriously wants to kill me since that time. In fact, their whole mission in life is to kill somebody exactly like me whether rightly or wrongly. I have felt a certain menace even if mostly ungrounded.

On 9/11/2001 I was driving to my job in Oak Brook when I first heard the news about the strike against the Trade Center. By the end of the day I felt sorry for the people in the United States who had just learned that somebody somewhere seriously wanted to kill them. Of course, some people living in high crime areas may have already known the feeling.

Everyone in Iraq knows it too. Things could have been done differently, but it seems they never are. I share the blame even though I have been against the war, just as I do Vietnam and the high crime areas in the United States.

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