If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Memories of past experiences
During my first years living in Alabama, one particular post-Vietnam way to support our brave military that fought for our freedoms (and others, too) was to purchase (quite cheaply) a bracelet possibly made of an aluminum alloy, with a name imprinted on the outside to show our loyalty.
The list came from some government entity and was a lovely way for the everyday person to say “thank you” to the men and women that gave their all. Some were officers, some were the enlisted men/women, and although I never knew the lieutenant colonel whose name I wore on my bracelet, I was so proud to share his name with all I knew; it often made for the start of a good conversation, and I wore it for quite a few years. I am sure it is packed away somewhere because I am such a pack rat, especially important things to my heart and soul.
During WWII many in my dad’s family were displaced, and it took several years to get them connected, mostly by the Red Cross; they seemed to work some miracles back in post-WWII. Then there was the heart wrenching story about my dad’s youngest brother, George, who just happened to work for a glass company in Scotland while Dad was in Middlesex, close to London, employed by the same company. I have a copy of George’s letter, saying, “I think you might be my brother.” It was exceptionally touching, reminding me of those letters written home to their ma during the Civil War days and while taking a break walking back home to see who was left in the family.
The Red Cross picked up on my dad, Alfred, and his youngest brother, George, arranging a meeting for them. I have that super photo; it was 1956.
Then fast forward to 2020-2021, and the big report is that the U.S. is removing the military first, leaving no one for protection; we have never done such things. And the thought of charges to allied helpers a fee of $2,000 per evacuee from Kahbul on military transport. Meanwhile commercial airline planes are being sent for rescue, at no cost, even though the pilots don’t know how many they need to get out and where they are hiding out, but still they send rescue planes.
I feel so for the scared and afraid women and children; life just should not be that way. If a female steps out in the rock-filled streets and she’ll likely be shot, then what about the children? You cannot change the truth by working on convincing others it is so; the truth is the truth. Watch Fox News, and see the pain of these citizens begging for life.
We have always taken care of those left after the war; just back after Vietnam, we encouraged those we referred to as the “boat people,” mostly from Cambodia, to get here and we’d help them. The U.S. provided interpreters, helped them find rental homes, food and get children into school, and so much more. I worked for a reporting company that initiated the much needed help that was required.
I rode across the ocean in a C-15 transport plane, not comfy traveling. They are just as they say, large transport planes to take equipment to where it’s needed. The inside looks quite unfinished and rustic, and in the open middle space usually sits big machinery. Either side close to the exterior walls of the plane were hanging almost temporary seats made of heavy fabric. Okay for a short ride, but not 2,000-3,000 miles. Although for me this was 50 years ago; you just don’t forget this sort of thing. I was grateful for the passage. Besides, when you are barely 20 a person can handle a lot of difficulty and discomfort if necessary.
Then we also have people coming in droves from our southern borders, mostly from Central America. I feel one day the U.S. may bust. I feel sorry for them all. The threat of COVID-19 and other illnesses and not knowing them at all stops me from saying I would take in a family to help them and help me.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “A truly great man once said, ‘Never judge another until you have walked two weeks in his shoes.’” Good one.
Sorry this column is mostly about our war, but everyone should know how others feel, and this fills my soul with pain. I just can’t imagine having to live like the folks of Kahbul are now. Until next week, try to keep smiling, and enjoy the cooling days when they arrive, soon I hope.
God bless America!