This morning, I sat down with a cup of coffee and went through a couple different drafts of this post before deciding to write about a personal story on this Memorial Day.
Memorial Day has a surreal meaning any time when our country is involved in conflicts around the globe. While it will be celebrated with cookouts and parades, many families are still grieving for those who have died in service of their country.
My father, Lyman Lamar “Butch” Pye, served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. He fought against the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, and was wounded three times. While I don’t remember the whole story, I recall that he took shrapnel in his elbow, leg, and under his chin. He made it out of Vietnam, unlike so many, but he had a desire to be a career Marine and was seriously thinking about re-enlisting — until he got word that a close friend was killed in, if I recall, his first few days back in action.
Dad may have left Vietnam, but it didn’t leave him.
I recall that he came to my school in 4th grade to talk about some of his experiences from Vietnam, though nothing graphic. He passed around pictures and medals that he’d received. He didn’t have his Purple Hearts any more, unfortunately, as he’d sold them to keep food on the table.
Dad was distant when telling war stories. It affected him in ways that I can’t even imagine. Everything I know now, I’ve learned from conversations with mom, who recently told me, “I’ve tried to forget much of what your dad told me about Vietnam.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wants to ban assault weapons. That’s not surprise. She also seems to be fine with retired police officers being exempted from the rule. However, she opposes veterans being exempted due to the possibility of PTSD. However, Real Clear Politics shared this little bit from the good senator [emphasis added by yours truly]:
The problem with expanding this is that, you know, with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this.
Really? A new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War? PTSD, which means Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is hardly “new.” In fact, it has a fairly long history.
Among the earliest diagnosis which would fit this criteria were soliders in the 19th century who were dianosed with “exhaustion.” In World War I, the condition was referred to as being “shell shocked.” In the Korean War, it was “battle fatigue.” The term PTSD was coined in the 1970’s in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
In fact, most alive today are more familiar with the Vietnam era PTSD vets, as those are the ones that usually raised us. How prevelant was the condition with that group of veterans?:
Patrick J. Deneen at the American Conservative magazine has an article on the resurgent patriotism among the American Left, a quality largely absent on their side since the Vietnam war:
Here’s the latest press release from the Barr campaign-
For Immediate Release - June 3, 2008
Bob Barr Welcomes Election Contest with Barack Obama and John McCain, Urges Weekly Debates
Atlanta, GA — Tonight the Democratic Party effectively finished its nomination process, choosing Sen. Barack Obama as its presidential candidate. Sen. Hillary Clinton fought long and well, helping spur a record voter turnout on the Democratic side. In most any other year she would have been her party’s standard-bearer, but she fell short against Sen. Obama, perhaps the Democrats’ most eloquent proponent of liberalism.