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Aug 19, 2014

Bumper Sticker Shock

A number of friends and acquaintances served in the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War, many in-country. Some of them are fairly regular readers of this blog and maybe one or more of you can help me with the question I have regarding a bumper sticker I saw this morning... a bumper sticker to which I reacted so negatively that my heart hurts when I see it in my mind's eye.

I rarely agree with the decisions made in the corridors of power that send men and women into the meat grinder that is any war (or "police action" or other bullshit term they use to convince the country that the bloodshed is necessary).  
American men born in 1953 received draft lottery numbers (mine was 287), though we were fortunate in that none of us were drafted into the Eisenhower/JFK/LBJ/Tricky Dick clusterfuck.

I therefore, will never have a clue what it is like to be on the front line--or even behind the lines--in war. I have massive respect for those who do know. 

What truly confounds me is the thought process that would cause a person to put a bumper sticker on his SUV that has the 101st Airborne logo and the words:


AIRBORNE VIETNAM










What kind of person brags about killing people almost forty years later? And why? Is there nothing else he's done that equals that time in Vietnam? Does part of him wish he were still there? Is he bragging?

The men I know who served hardly, if ever, talk about it. Coincidentally, a few hours after seeing the bumper sticker I found out that one friend I've known for seven years was there. It just came out in conversation that included nothing of the above...

The above questions are NOT rhetorical. I am asking because I really do want to know the answers... or at least one answer. Please help me if you can.

This all brings to mind another thought... if more Americans had a passport--the last statistics I read were that less than 20% do--and actually used it, we'd stop seeing people who look different than we do as "THEM" and realize that 99% of the world is one hell of a lot like us.

Please encourage EVERYONE you know to:
1) Get a passport

2) USE IT!

Get out and see the world! If not the whole thing, then at least one place that initially feels uncomfortable... and then stay there until it doesn't.


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