The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Monday, September 27, 2004

John Kerry and his boosting-why he is not a hero

Sent to me by reader Russ Vaughn. I hope this gives all readers the same pause it gave me, as it made me recall members of my family who were in war and how little they spoke of their experiences.

I Don't Know War
(author unknown)
I'm not worthy to question John Kerry's war record. Because I don't have one. I spent the Vietnam War in elementary school. And the four years I was in the Army were all behind a desk. My fort was unofficially known as "Uncle Ben's Rest Home."So I don't know anything about war.Though I do know a little bit about men who've been to war. I've been aroundplenty of those. Like my stepfather. He got bunged up pretty bad in France. I know that because I saw him in a swimming suit once.But he never talked about it. Not once.If you asked him about the war he'd tell hilarious stories about basic training, orwhere the guys he served with were from, or how fun it was learning to fly the gliders,or the time they stole the ambulance to go into town and get drunk in France,or a few of the phrases in German he learned. But he'd never actually talk about the war.Unless he was really drunk.In which case he still wouldn't talk about it. He'd cry about it. He'd put his head inhis arms in the wee hours of the morning and sob to himself about how the menaround him were broken and torn when the gliders crash landed into the Frenchcountryside.But that was only once or twice, and that was never about him.And the little box of medals at the bottom of his footlocker never came out.It was kind of the same way at the Legion and the VFW. Every day he'd check in atboth places, to sign the book and to have a beer, and I would tag along. All those menhad been in the service, and most had been in combat, but I never heard a war story. Lots of Army stories, and Navy stories, sure. About guys they knew and leaves theywere on and officers they messed with. But nothing about the war.It was the same way in the Army.In my day, it seemed like everybody above staff sergeant or captain had been in Vietnam.I went in 10 years after the war ended but the guys on the second half of their careers hadall gone.You could tell when they wore their dress uniforms. But that was the only time.Men didn't talk about what they'd done in the war. They didn't boast of their accomplishments. They didn't brag about their medals. But if you chanced to see them in their dress uniforms, with the rows of service ribbons, you could read their history there, you could see that those who'd done the most spoke of it the least.Like one of our drill sergeants in basic training.Buffing the floor in his office one day we saw the service ribbons pinned to his Class Auniform on the coat rack. Comparing them to the poster in the company day room welearned he'd gotten the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. We asked about them and he made us do push-ups for being nosey.The night before graduation, when he welcomed us as fellow soldiers, we asked himagain, we almost pestered him. Finally he relented and gave us two sentences: "I wasin a war. I got hurt."And that's all he'd say.Kind of like a man I know, who received the Medal of Honor. One night he stood in a long line to shake hands with Colin Powell. The man, because of the nature of the event, wore his medal around his neck. As he came to Colin Powell the man said,

"General, it's an honor to meet you."And Colin Powell responded, "No, sir - it's an honor to meet you."Anyway, I know this man, and he's often asked to tell his story, of how he earned theMedal of Honor. And he never does. Oh, he answers, and he talks, and he inspires,and he talks about the war. But he neglects the part about the lives he saved and the courage he showed, and instead talks about a young Vietnamese man who helped him to safety when his legs were too shot through to hold him anymore.I don't know anything about war. But I do know a little bit about men who've gone to war.And none of them act the way John Kerry does.None of them brag about, boast of, talk about or otherwise try to benefit from theirservice. They don't prostitute their time in uniform for personal gain and ambition.They all modestly and insistently say that they "didn't do anything." They minimizetheir contributions and put them in the context of the similarly courageous and nobleservice provided by their comrades.A true hero doesn't boast.In fact, he kind of keeps his deeds to himself. Which is what makes John Kerry sodifferent. Which is what makes John Kerry so unbelievable.I don't know war. But I do know war heroes.
And John Kerry's damn sure not one of them.

update: Sent to me by reader Patrick-The author of this piece is Bob Lonsberry. Mr. Lonsberry was a columnist for a Gannett paper many years ago in Rochester, NY. He currently has a radio program on WHAM 1180 at 11am to 2pm M-F. This article was originally posted on his site. You can access the original article here and then access his home page from there.
Thanks Patrick.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of them are running for President.. They don't have to 'appeal' to the sick people who think war is fun, do they? Kerry does. He'd be a 'wuss' otherwise, surely?? Give it some thought. I bet he struggles with it every day. Wy else do you think he's running? We can't let this farce carry on. He's seen it. He's determined..

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow how eye opening. John Kerry doesn't act like most of the war heroes you know (who incidentally aren't under the stress of a major presidential campaign). What an awful man: he dedicates his service to the country he loves and he actually has the nerve to MENTION IT! Why can;t he be more humble like Bush. Bush is such a bastion of humility that he chose not to even serve his country in a time of war lest someone bring it up during his future political career. Whattaguy! Let's re-elect someone who clearly cares about the us military - who understands that 1,000 Americans dead 9and plenty more innocent civilians) is a small price to pay for - why was it necessary to go to war again?

Sheesh, you people are sick.

7:25 PM  
Blogger redcrabtree said...

My dear anonymous,
I am afraid that you just don't get it, nor will you get it. Thankfully millions of Americans do. It is Kerry who seems to think that war is nothing. Those who have fought vigorously and watched buddies die in horrid circumstances do not dwell on those things. They do not purposely and repeatedly bring up painful memories for themselves or for others. I had 4 Uncles that fought in WWII, and I mean in combat on a regular basis and they never spoke of those things. As a nurse I take care of many vets. WWII vets but now we are seeing more Vietnam era vets as they also age. In the last several months there has been ONE vet out of dozens and dozens I have taken care that has been in favor of Kerry. This has been the first election since I have been a nurse in which my patients are talking politics with me, and it is vets that I hear from the most. From the ones that have spoken to me about it, they absolutely hate John Kerry. They see him as someone who is a wannabe for political purposes for one, and secondly they see him as a traitor. They do not focus so much on whether he deserved his medals or not, that is not an issue. What is the issue is his behavior after he came back from Vietnam, and now he wants everyone to forget that and declare him a hero because he spent 4 months in a war zone. Anonymous, the vets are not forgetting.
By the way, I have changed my setting so anonymous comments cannot be made. Though looking back from my referrel list can I guess your name is David?

10:36 PM  
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2:12 PM  

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