22 April 2008

"So, what does your Dad do?"

The business of the Army is killing people. Whether you pull the trigger or support those that do. I read that only one out of ten who served in Vietnam actually participated in combat. Of that 10%, there were those who refused to kill. Combat troops, usually drafted, who made the moral decision not to put another human being in their sights and pull the trigger.

Then there were the professionals. The picture of my father was taken somewhere in the Central Highlands in 1966. It is hard for a father to come home and hug his children when he is either:

Learning how to kill people
Killing people
Teaching others how to kill people

I met some caring and loving fathers who killed people in Vietnam. They were always Air Force pilots. Distance from killing seemed to have helped them. Infantrymen do not have this luxury.
I would compare my father with those Air Force officers without really understanding how the war shaped them. It was only when I joined the Infantry that I began to understand.

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