Subject: Facebook Photo
La belle femme just shared your Facebook Vietnam photo with me. You were merely a kid, an innocent, good hearted, idealistic, loving, kind, and handsome kid, perhaps even in some ways a naive Mississippi country boy sent over to another continent to, in tritely vacuous political parlance, “fight for our Freedom.”
In recent years I’d taken to stopping servicemen and women at the many regional and national/international airports through which I’d travelled. I’d give them a pat on the shoulder, and state: “Thank you for your service.” And, unlike politicians, I meant every word. Always surprised, their responses were heartwarming. And I meant every word of it. And in silence I would invoke and heap curses on those who wage wars of choice, sending young women and men (as dispensable fodder) in harm’s way to oil the gears of the military industrial complex and grease the Ching Ching bottom lines of corporate America.
Only recently and on two different occasions I asked two colleagues, veterans (colonels), one a Vietnam veteran and the other an Iraq veteran (3 tours) the following: “what did we accomplish in Vietnam/Iraq?” As though they rehearsed their responses, both responded with a terse one-word rejoinder. “Nothing!”
All this to say the following: to you and to the hundreds of thousands who responded to the call of duty — thank you for stepping up, and thank you for serving honorably.
Halaby, Raouf J. Professor Emeritus, "Subject: Facebook Photo" (2016). Articles. 104.