Thursday, November 12, 2009

....we band of brothers--an addendum

a follow up to yesterday's post:

I wrote about my brother on Veteran's Day. My brother the conscientious objector. I was very nervous as I hit the "post" button. What reaction would I get--especially on Veteran's Day.

Honestly, I had some reservations about posting it, but it's how I am feeling. And what I was thinking about. Many of my generation were very confused about that war. And many served and came home damaged. Physically and emotionally. The latter wounds have yet to heal.

My brother also got a very raw deal. He was 21 years old when he was sentenced--a kid [like most of the soldiers in Nam. Did you know that the average age of soldiers during that war was 18!! Way, way too young] The hospital he worked at was combat duty in and of itself. He was very slight of build and they would bring in guys a good foot taller than him--and several pounds heavier-- who were strung out on PCP. The powers-that-be would say "Bill, put a straight jacket on this guy" and leave my brother alone to figure out how to do that. On one occasion, he was thrown down the trash shoot. He got several black eyes, his ribs broken and continual cigarette burns on his arms. By 23 he was drinking heavily to cope.

You also need to know that this was an extremely bright young man. He had won a full scholarship to a private Main Line high school and followed that up with a full ride to Penn State Main Campus. He had so much potential. Most likely, he could have spent his time in the service at a desk job, given his intelligence and skills, but he chose to fight for what he believed in. And it cost him his future. He wasn't able to handle his disillusionment with the world unfortunately.

Now, he wasn't a saint--no one is. But he didn't deserve what happened. He left behind a son and daughter who never had the chance to really get to know their dad. Both are now in their late 30s and are wonderful people. My sister-in-law did a great job. He would be proud of them and his 3 grandchildren.

Brndoutw8ress-thanks for reading all the way through. And thanks for having an open mind, so many people don't. Here's to your dad and all of the other dads, sons, brothers--and daughters. Thanks.

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