Sunday, November 14, 2010


I often wonder about determination or as it is sometimes called: stubbornness. Often we hear of people running for public office who only want to serve their country. We are currently hearing that idea from a man who served in the Vietnam War and was a prisoner of the North Vietnamese and subjected to cruelty and psychological warfare during five of those years. He is now considered a hero for his service during war; though his ‘cell mates’ some of whom actually were in prison longer are not so honored. Though he has lost some of his physical mobility and use of his arm from a crash landing he maintains a positive outlook on life by wanting to continue to serve his country. Because his father and grandfather were naval admirals he received medical care above what would have been normally provided.

There are many examples of this type of behavior: Senators who have lost legs or the use of an arm and who run for public office on the basis of their service. Perhaps I am naïve, or do not understand the desire to serve. I would be more inclined to say that I have served enough for my country. However if some energetic PR person contacted me and promised or at least implied that I could get to be a Senator or Congressman based on my war years and if I had the ability to speak reasonably intelligently before an audience I might be persuaded to try. My chances would be improved if I had some infirmity to show the constituency and be greatly enhanced if I could be considered a war hero. People just love heroes; real ones or make believe ones. Like the Indian Ira Hays who the war department promoted as a hero planting the American flag on Iwo Jima even though he did not think he was a hero. He was taken around the country on war bond drives and emotionally ruined.

In the movie ‘Patton’ there is a scene where the general is shown alone on a large stage with an American flag as a backdrop giving a speech to his troops who are not actually visible. It is a rousing speech. General Patton is considered by history as one of our finest generals. Old blood and guts he was called. Or as the troops said: his guts and our blood. Patton went on to say that he did not want any of his troops to be heroes and die for their country; he wanted them to make the other SOB a hero and die for his country. So much for heroes.

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