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sheeps

Quick Thought on Our Troops

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First of all, my father passed away one week ago. He had a heart attack while on the fifteen-minute ride between Port Authority and the Lincoln Tunnel Park and Ride. Thank god it didn't happen at work, thank god it didn't happen on the New Jersey Turnpike, thank god it didn't happen at home, every one of which would have been a much worse situation. At least he went in total peace, never made a sound (it was only when the bus reached the Park and Ride when somebody noticed), my uncle said he never felt a thing during his heart attack.

I know I've mentioned him as a Vietnam Veteran before. He spent six years in the service, eventually attaining the rank of Captain. He was stationed in Germany at first, where he supervised a weapons-making facility, and then went off to Vietnam, even serving with alongside the Korean Army to help them - he learned German and Korean while overseas, pretty remarkable. He was planning a reunion with some old Army buddies, which he never made it to. Out of many hundred family and friends he had, an old Army buddy was the first to send glowing remarks in eulogy.

His service life was very important to him. He always donated to the VFW, American Legion, and many, many veterans-assistance funds. (Though he did admit one key reason to join the American Legion in Ithaca was their 25c drafts.) He kept a piece of shrapnel on his dresser to remind himself how lucky he was. He never saw the Vietnam Memorial in DC, he was never able to do it emotionally. Despite the service being so important to him, he forbade us to join the service. My sister was thinking of joining and my parents used the "one time" rule (they had a theory that, once you went to college, they only got one time to definitively say "No" to something we wanted to do - mine was spent when they didn't want me to become a bartender).

He agreed with the spirit of Kerry's intentions, if not the flip-flopping, media-grabbing tone they often had. He had a few pet peeves, like how some pro-war parents would forbid their children from joining the service. He wasn't anti-war for any simplistic reasons, either, he had a complex group of reasons for why he was against the war. Even if you disagree with his opinion, which he would have invited you to do, he had a right to hold it.

And now, for the quick thought on our troops: after the church service, the casket was taken outside and draped with the flag. Two members of the army, obviously in full uniform, saluted each other while "Taps" played. They then had a ceremony with the flag, where they took it off and folded it into a triangle. After folding, they very precisely tucked in every side so that the triangle was perfect. I bet they do these services all the time, hell they could have even done one or more others that same day. It was obviously routine given the precision at which they carried out the service. And they couldn't have known my dad, given that they looked around their mid-twenties. They'd have to do some pretty extensive research on my dad in just a few days in order to know anything about him (which they might have, maybe they pull up a file on the ex-soldier).

Anyways, even though it was a routine service for someone they never met in their life, when one of the soldiers handed the folded flag to my mom, he was crying. There should be a certain amount of respect between your average citizen and our troops. Even if you disagree with the war, respect our troops. Respectfully disagree. Just as, even if you disagree with the current government, respect your president, respectfully disagree. It was the respect that the one officer had for my dad, even though he never met him, that made him cry - it is that same respect we should have for our troops, our government, and each other.

Edit: OK, it wasn't so quick.

Edited by sheeps

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Sorry to hear about your Dad. That's awful. You doing okay?

I think most of us already feel that way. We don't blame those who put their lives on the line, even if we disagree with those responsible for putting their lives on the line.

Edited by Don

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Warm sympathies :pray:

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I'm very sorry to hear that sheeps.

Regarding the troops, I think every anti-war person still has a lot of respect for the soldiers. I can't understand why they wouldn't.

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Sheeps - my sincerest condolences. I dont want to imagine what you're going through... i can't even begin to attempt it.

Thank you so much for saying something - giving us the chance to let you know we care.

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Also I completely agree - I always feel that I should love all people care about their well being even if I hate their company as much as I care about my husband as much as I care about my child.

I feel like we're given families not merely for something to treasure but to show us how all humans are to be treasured... it's just that with family you're already inclined -- the art of life is then to love everyone that much - to value every life that much.

You strive for that yourself - i mean we can see that -- I think you're doing a great job with Life. You're dad had to have been a great man to have helped forge your personality so well.

My thing now is how to temper love with accountability. Soldiers have the most difficult job I can imagine. well... I'll leave it at that.

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Sorry to hear about your father Sheeps, he sounded like a really good guy and mentor from your post.

As for our troops, nobody this day and age has nothing but respect for anyone who wants to serve and protect his country.

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Sorry to hear about your loss, may your father RIP.

I also agree with your stance on the soldier/civilian respect issue.

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Sorry for your loss Sheeps, especially so sudden like that. I lost my father when I was younger but able to understand what happened. You have my condolences.

And I agree with the sentiments of your post. Treat others as you would have them treat you.

I have heard taps twice at funerals and it just takes it out of me. I can't even hear that fake crap on TV anymore without feeling some sadness.

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Sheeps, I am very sorry to hear about your loss :(.

Always remember what your Dad stood for. And that sounds like A LOT.

Condolences.

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I'm sorry to hear about your loss. May he RIP.

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Prayers are with you Sheeps...I know what you mean tho...at my dad's funeral they did the same and handed the flag to my mom...at my mom's funeral the flag was being handed to me and sibs however I acknowledged the soldiers and just moved back.

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my deepest sympathies

a wonderful post sheeps

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Sheeps, so sorry to hear about your Dad, hope you and your family are doing OK.

I absolutely agree with you about respect for the people who fight for us. I never want to see what happened during Vietnam happen again. If you disagree with the policy, take your disagreement out with those who SET the policy, and have coherent arguments for it. Don't just decide to disrespect the people, who, in the end, are volunteering to protect your freedoms because you don't want to do it.

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Thanks guys. Things are a bit crazy now, but I can only try to move on, while remembering him of course, cause hey, that's just what I should do. Thank you again for your thoughts...

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