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When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again: A Moment with Bill Reflection

Updated on February 10, 2015

Sing Along with Me

From the song “When Johnny Come Marching Home Again.”

When Johnny comes marching home again,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer and the boys will shout
The ladies they will all turn out
And we'll all feel gay when Johnny comes marching home.

Kind of makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

Of course, as you might suspect, I have a little different slant on that song.

Thank you, Dad!
Thank you, Dad! | Source

The Ugly Reality

So young they are when we say goodbye for the first time. Pimple-faced, glowing cheeks, and the smile we have known since they were wee little bundles of energy. They are off to serve their country, and for one brief moment, our fear for their safety is overpowered by the pride we feel, for our baby boy, or girl, is grown up and about to do their duty.

They march off with squared-shoulders and determination in their stride. There is purpose….to serve their country….there is idealism….to serve with pride….and there is a sense of higher calling. They are, most certainly, naïve, but who among us can blame them, for they know not what they are marching towards.

The future is distant from our thoughts that day. The dangers scamper across our mind, stop only for a second, and then are pushed aside as hugs are exchanged and promises of a visit are made…and then Johnny goes marching off, to basic training at Fort Benning, Foot Hood, Fort Lewis, the names change but the purpose remains the same: to produce the best fighting machine this planet has ever seen.

So toss aside the toys of childhood, Johnny, heft that rucksack to your shoulders, and repeat after me:

"Count cadence
Delay cadence
Skip cadence
Count

(one) All you soldiers
(two) You better do your best
(three) Before you find yourself
(four) In the leaning rest

(one) Hit it
(two) Kick it
(three) Stab it
(four) Kill it

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four
We like it here
We love it here
We've finally found a home
A home
A home
A home away from home (Hey!)"

Source

Training Is Over

And Johnny comes marching home, two weeks with friends and family, before deployment to lands far away, oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, but thoughts of battle are still in the distance as our boy, or girl, tosses back some cold ones with childhood buddies who are now in college, learning their times tables and getting on with life. They tell stories of panty raids and keggers, and Johnny tells stories of chokeholds and grenade launchers. They discuss their plans after college, of two-car garages and a 401K, and Johnny talks of distant shores with danger lurking and threatening.

Where they sending you, Johnny, and he answers of desert lands, or jungles ripe with malaria and swift bullets, and a hush falls over the room as words are suddenly in short supply, and lumps in throats speak loudly in the silence, these childhood friends, once so close, suddenly find they have little in common with Johnny and most likely never will again.

And just beneath the surface of the jocularity is concern, gut-wrenching, rip your heart out concern, that one of this group will not be seeing old age, and in the distance a haunting voice sings Auld Lang Syne as the buddies offer up a toast for Johnny, and wish him luck, and the evening ends with promises to keep in touch, but they all know, as the last bottle is emptied, that promises can be just as empty.

Hold That Flag High, Johnny

Johnny now has a death grip on that M16 as he stands at the ready. Night sentry duties call in a foreign land, and night duty means shadows, and these are not the gentle shadows of childhood but instead, shadows that kill. The oppressive heat of the day is replaced with bone-chilling cold, and underneath the camouflage is a flak jacket, flimsy mesh designed to deflect steel-jacketed rounds, but all who wear it know it is a myth, so Johnny lights up a cigarette, inhales his fear, and peers into the darkness. Who is the enemy? It is just as likely that child over there with explosives strapped on her small body, and ain’t that the shits, when a child poses a threat and hesitation can mean life or eternal rest?

The winds blow and the dust, the goddamned dust, is everywhere, man, and the goal on this night, and any night, is to make it back to the barracks with two arms and two legs, and collapse in the bunk and offer up a prayer to any god that will answer you. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord…..there ain’t no atheists in a foxhole, and that’s the plain truth, and childhood dreams are cruel now, just taunting memories that are so painful, for out there, in the desert, the good guys don’t ride into the sunset like John Wayne, victorious and gleeful. No, not here, not now, maybe not ever.

And then it happens, gunfire in the distance, and all hell breaks loose in an orchestrated symphony of bullets and explosions, and the great director moves the players across the stage, and cries of pain echo in the night as the wind dies down and dust settles on the fallen comrades. This is war. War is discharged bowels and guts being held inside by a pressing hand. The moans of the wounded can now be heard, moans Johnny will hear until he is an old man, and visions of that firefight will visit him in his sleep until the day he finally closes his eyes for the last time.

Flags wave and men are forgotten
Flags wave and men are forgotten | Source

And Johnny Comes Marching Home

Hurrah! Hurrah!

We’ll give him a hearty welcome then, and pat him on the back and ask him how he’s doing, and he’ll smile, and say all the right things, but that smile will be a few watts short of what it once was, and the light will have faded from Johnny’s eyes and he lifts up his beer and tries to rejoin “normal life,” whatever the hell that means.

And the parades end, and Johnny is left with his nightmares as he enters a society so far removed from his last two years of mangled limbs and shattered dreams, and the cheers of joy die down, and the promises of a government are shuffled by the clerks, and delays occur and needed therapy and medical treatment is delayed, and Johnny is suddenly a fish flopping on shore, desperately trying to find air for his lungs. Jobs are few for a man with his training. Opportunities are practically nonexistent, and those he protected can no longer find the time to extend a helping hand to their protector.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

And Johnny’s mom and dad, well, they know the light is gone. Their baby boy has the thousand-yard stare, and all he sees are shadows, and yes, shadows kill, even in peacetime, even along the idyllic streets of Main Street, America, and that baby boy may be standing in front of them, but the cold, hard truth is he never came home from foreign lands and Johnny may never come marching home, again.

No soldier left behind is, sadly, a myth.

Hurrah! Hurrah!

A note from the author: I have the utmost respect for our military. I think the way they have been treated upon their return Stateside is shameful and must be rectified immediately. We count on them to protect us and yet allow them to be ignored when they come home. A veteran should never be homeless. A veteran should never experience delays in getting treatment. A veteran should never be unemployed.

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I'm pretty sure we all know guys like that, and it saddens me greatly. Thanks for sharing.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There are so many should nots, but there are even more than what you have said. I knew a guy missing the present completely. He'd walk 30 miles a day, punching buttons in the air of the days that were back in Nam. He just never woke up from those days.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, thank you for the compliment about my writing...as for those who have seen war....there is no way for us to understand. All we can do is show compassion and get them the help they need.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      The paragraph that starts with, "We’ll give him a hearty welcome then ... " is some of your very best writing, Bill. It is so true. Years ago, as I graduated from college and went off into the professional world, my college sweetheart (who was in the Reserves to pay his way through college) went off to the first Gulf War. Some things just cannot be unseen or undone -- or truly understood by those who haven't lived it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No they don't vkwok, and that's why I think articles like this one are important. Thank you for reading.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      It's sad that despite all that they have done for this country, many veterans end up unable to find employment and end up homeless. They definitely don't deserve that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sandra, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with all of them. There are so many, like your husband, who came back physically but never truly returned. It saddens me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Mel. I'm with you in your sentiments. I'm tired of manufactured wars for profit. Thanks for sharing your thought and yes, it does have a Tobias flavor to it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, it is my pleasure. I have veterans in my family, and I know of their sacrifices and their losses. Nobody should have to see what they have seen.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      A great hub with so much soul searching. I lost my husband in Nsm but not because he died. His very soul was destroyed. When I think of how many lives were destroyed in that war and then ---we walked away. Look how many died in Iraq and then --- we walked away. Now Isis had destroyed that all. The shameful truth is that we could go in with full force, clean it up and head back home. Sadly our politicians are playing war and destroying lives and our country. God bless those soldiers wherever they may be. They need our support always.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I love our troops too, which is why I want them saved for when we really need them, and not to be the pawns of avaricious men looting foreign lands to add another percentage point to the bottom line. This reminded me a lot of your Tobias readings. Great hub!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, thank you for writing this. My husband and many friends are Viet Nam veterans. Our church is located close to JBLM, and so we have many members who are actively serving in the Army, Air Force, or Marines. They are dear to us--an extended family. Some have been wounded and when they hurt we all hurt. My great nephew (my sister's grandson) is presently training for Special Ops. I fear for his future, but at the same time am so hugely proud of him.

      Thank you for understanding and sharing your thoughts on the sacrifice. "America, the land of the free because of the brave."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, my blood runs red whenever I think of this topic. We must do more if we are to call ourselves true patriots. Thank you and thank your family for me for serving this country proudly.

      hugs coming your way, dear friend

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      thank you thank you thank you , Bill.

      I am from a family of those who chose to serve and from early on we learned that we in our family bleed red, white , and blue.

      Those who serve today stand in harm's way knowing that home may never been seen again . They deserve the recognition that you have shown here.

      Angels are on the way to you today , my Friend. Along with a bunch of blessings and hugs ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. Now all we have to do is convince our politicians, many of whom have never served in the military.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So sad, Aesta. Thank you for sharing that with us all. Very sad indeed.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      War of any kind is a horrible undertaking. I very much agree with your concluding section, Bill. The needs of veterans should never be ignored when they return home

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Our aunt used to tell us how our grandmother reacted when our father was drafted to the USAFFE. There were stories as well of how emaciated he was when he returned from the death march. They all rallied to get him healthy again but the malaria came back once in a while. He died early.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you William. If we can't end wars, and it appears we can't, then the least we can do is take care of those who fight them. I appreciate your thoughts.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 2 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Well said, Bill. That great old Civil War song has been sung too long ... through too many wars with too many Johnnies not coming home at all or coming home with mangled bodies and/or nightmares. If we can't avoid wars at least we can honor our veterans. Certainly, no veteran should have to be homeless!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lizzy and it is so very sad indeed. I don't think we'll ever see the end of it, Lizzy, and I know that sounds pessimistic but so be it.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Wow!

      You have penned the sad, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking truth here!

      This is the real situation, and it is a shameful stain on the soul of all humanity, that we still fight wars and kill each other over simple differences of opinion or belief; still try to grab one anothers' lands; still have failed to learn from history, or the lessons of "play nicely" taught at our parents' knees...

      Voted up, awesome, shared and pinned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! If I had grandchildren I would cringe at the thought of them going into the military or the police force. There is just too much danger out there, and I'm afraid I want someone else besides my family to face that danger. Selfish for sure, but there you have it.

      Have a marvelous evening.

      bill

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      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This is strong stuff, bill, and rightly so. I have 2 grandsons and the thought of them doing anything like that fills me with fear. I hope they don't want to and I hope they don't have to. My oldest granddaughter is talking about going into the police force; even that fills me with fear these days. I can't cope with any possibility of danger for my little ones.

      The way we treat them when they come home says much about a country in general I think. The only country I know of which does that well is Australia.

      This hits home and is so well written around your theme of the song.

      Excellent, bill.

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Denise. I hope your children never hear the drums of battle. Bless you and bless them.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Both my father and father-in-law served in the military. We have two children who are in the reserves. Thankfully, none of these loved ones have had to see the fire of battle, but our hearts skip a beat and our guts wrench every time the possibility comes into our lives. Thanks to the benefits of the military, my father's heart is still beating and he has hearing aides in his ears. Our veterans need care! I echo your concern.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DJ!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I don't have the answers, but I know it is a crying shame. Thank you, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, DDE. Thank you for your thoughts and I hope your son never experiences war in his lifetime.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, how could it not be for sure? I don't know, my friend, but something has to be done. Thank you for caring.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. This is an important topic for me. I just wish a few million more people were concerned enough to do something about it.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      My husband said, "you are welcome".

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      This is so true Bill and for the life of me don't understand why the military and their families are not treated like royalty. After all if not for them what would our country be like. Well done as always.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I don't like the idea of WAR! My son is 22 and living in Croatia it is different in that way. Life is too precious to be risked at war. Too much heart feelings.

    • profile image

      Jackie 2 years ago

      What is even sadder is that many don't come home...I knew some who didn't and at least one who should have never been there. I truly believe his death caused his college brother an early death also. Of course there was my dad too who I never once heard speak of it. He had been shot, not critically but well, how could it not be?

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Great article. Your concern for veterans is appreciable. It is a real fact. People serving for country taking all those risks in the midst of dangers are not well rewarded nor provided with their minimum requirements for leading their rest of life. You have done good service by bringing this fact to the notice of public. Thanks for such great topic. Voted up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The same here, Cris. It is a thankless job and it is high time our countries do a proper job of thanking these men and women. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Faith. Thank God there are caring people who do the job our government has failed to do. Blessings to you, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I always have admiration and respect for those in uniform specially the ones in military. I have relatives and friends in the service and I couldn't thank them enough for their bravery.

      Voted up and passing this along.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Dramatic read and a sad reality no doubt. My dad went in as a very young man, and it is true, he heard those moans until he died at 60, which is not old in my mind now. He had it all, including malaria, Agent Orange, PTSD, you name it. My mother was such a strong woman to have endured seeing this transformation of her loving young husband into someone who suffered with so many demons of war. It is a hard thing for a child to hear her daddy suffering and not understand or be able to help. I am thankful for the wonderful ministry of Wounded Warriors to help now.

      Peace and blessings

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Really, Pop, it's been this way since Vietnam. If we were to actually invest the full might of our military in a war, there would be some very short wars, but we just don't seem to be willing to make that commitment. And the ones who pay are the soldiers.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I support The Wounded Warrior Project because they are a fabulous organization that cuts through the garbage and helps our vets. I wish Johnny never had to go to war, but reality says otherwise. If the U.S. would fight a war they meant to win, our military would make it home faster and probably in one piece. War is not a game, but it is now. Voted up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kindred, I hate to hear stories like the one you just shared. My fear is it is happening thousands of times each day, and where is the help these young men need to adjust to the changes in their lives? It sickens me, angers me, and just plain makes me sad.

      Thank you for your compassion and your kind words about my writing. That means a great deal to me, my friend.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 2 years ago from Central Virginia

      Kindred, just when I think you can't surpass your best writing, you pull another rabbit out of your hat. My vision is horrible today so reading is a bit of a struggle. Now,add tears to the mix and it was all but impossible. I felt every human emotion as I read this. Like you, I have enormous respect for those that serve and I am horrified by what they see and are expected to process. I have a friend whose son just joined the Marines. He is a wonderful young man full of compassion and humility. He came back from boot camp with a big "he-man" attitude and thinking he is God's gift to women now. His mother is mortified. When she shared this with me this morning, I could not help but think about where he is headed (deployment) and what condition his attitude will be in when he returns. I got angry thinking about these wars we are fighting in the name of freedom when freedom is starting to feel like a thing of the past. Our sacrifice is too great. That said, I will continue to pray for the men and women who put their life on the line for the rest of us and I will show my gratitude when they return, Your message here is critical and ranks among your top ten in my list of favorites. Love and peace to you my friend.l

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I'm sorry to take you out of your joyful mood. I'll have something lighthearted for you next week. Thank you for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Zulma and no, I haven't been in the military,but I've seen firsthand the effects.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I started reading this in a joyful mood, esp. the college kids learning their times table, then I got serious quickly. Bill your writing ability is so good, I could feel the pain in the battlefield. I hope every politician could read this and feel a deep shame. Wonderful. Shared on Twitter.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Unless you've been in the military, you can't understand what these kids go through. But it's plain to see you do. Bless you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Without a doubt, Clive! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sis. I don't know what else to do but write about it. Maybe, just maybe, if awareness is raised, things will happen.

      Or not! :)

      Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, it is just one example of millions of how poorly we have treated those who protect us. It sickens me.

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      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      WAR! a very ugly thing

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      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bro....I have such strong feelings when it comes to our Vets, you know this. Especially Viet Nam Vets for the obvious reasons at this point, have my respect and gratitude.

      I've come to a point now that I can barely see or hear anymore of the results of "war" on the faces & bodies, in the hearts & minds of our courageous men & women who do what they do/did FOR OUR COUNTRY. I cannot stop my tears although they are not helpful.

      Thank you for your share, bill....I am with you. Many, many of us are.

      UP++++

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      My husband went into the army as a young man. His biggest disappointment is that after risking his life, fighting in a war, when he returned home, not only was there no welcome home, but people actually acted like he did a disservice to the country.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes...thank you again, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cristen, thank you for sharing your feelings with us. I know how I would feel if my son were to go marching, and I suspect you are feeling the same things.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I feel your frustration and pain, and I'm so sorry, even though I know you aren't looking for sympathy. You have highlighted several issues that are incredibly sad and wrong. Denied he ever served in Vietnam? shame on all of us.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      mother.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      As a mother who agrees with you 100% and whose son has decided to "go marching" this is a difficult read. Excellent, must-be-said, read, but difficult nonetheless. I have no illusions. Thank you for saying what I cannot right now because I am trapped between my convictions about warring and those of being a supportive

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Bill, it makes me cry with anger. As you probably know, I’ve been married to a Vietnam veteran for 30 years, and the government denies that he was ever in Vietnam. His records are sealed, so he can’t prove it even to collect his disability. The mental anguish sometimes devastates both of us.

      You wrote: “ It is just as likely that child over there with explosives strapped on her small body,”

      And these men were called “babykillers” upon their return from Vietnam. Now Americans try to compensate by hurrahing our returning military. Too little, too late, my husband says, but he has every sympathy for those returning and the way they are treated by the VA.

      Personally, I think anyone is a fool to voluntarily enlist in our military, especially if he (or she thinks) he will be taken care of in the event of a catastrophic injury. I also think a person is a fool to marry a military person because even if the soldier doesn’t serve in a combat zone, the training they receive hardens them forever. My best friend whose husband never left stateside told me that some special training was the beginning of their end.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Manatita, and I agree with you, we need more of this kind of writing. Raising awareness is something writers are very good at. To answer your question yes, Michelle Obama has taken this on as her cause. Thank goodness someone is.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Bro you sometimes write like America's conscience. More is needed though, but you play your part, and again your respect for your country also shows as far as I have read in a few of your Hubs. I too, believe in America, and it will change, Bro. A slow pace, yes, but it will change.

      We need more of this kind of writing to re-awaken the sleeping hierarchy. I will only touch lightly on politics, but was Michelle Obama trying to address the veteran situation? Much love.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, do me a favor, please. Tell your husband thank you for me.

      That's all I need to say...thank you!

      bill

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      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Bill, last week my husband and I visited with a man who was with my husband in the 'Vietnam conflict'. He came home, went back to college,

      got a great paying job, married and raised his family. He retired a few

      years ago and it was after retirement when he had time to himself that the shadows came out to play. After all these years, the pain of war now

      haunts him, day and night. He can hardly carry on a conversation without wiping the tears away. We spent the afternoon with he and his wife and I watched before me a tragic case of PTSD in its truest form. The horrors of a war 50 years ago, now demanded his undivided attention. Yes, he is under a doctor's care, and a psychiatrist's care as he struggles from the fears of a 19 year old boy who stared death in the face, almost daily.

      What will become of these young men and women coming home without

      all their body parts - what will they face in another 50 years?

      Everyone is sick of war. But, there always seems to be a bully or two just

      pushing their weight around, hurting innocent people. I have no answers.

      I appreciate your article, Bill.

      Thank you,

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, thank you! There are recruitment advertisements speaking to that issue here...can't find a job? Join the military! For some reason that bothers me on many levels.

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      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Sad and hard hitting but it needs to be said. I also find it heartbreaking that due to the fragile state of the economy some of the recruits here join up as there is no employment availlable for the young in the areas that they live in. It is there best chance of employment. So wrong.

      Change can't come quick enough. Well penned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, God bless you, buddy, and thank you for serving your country with honor. This issue makes my blood boil. We expect others to protect us but we are not willing to support them? What kind of shit is that?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, I'm with you. I'm sick of war too, and would be quite happy if we never again needed the military...but that isn't going to happen, so the least we can do is support them and take care of them when the fighting ends. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha, and I'm sorry about the tears, but we need more Americans to shed some tears about this issue. Thank you for caring and sharing.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, you can rant all you want on this site, and I totally agree with you. I am a big supporter of the "Wounded Warrior Project," and I'm glad you mentioned them. I agree that our elected officials will most likely do nothing, so turning to organizations like that one is the only thing that makes sense.

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      Larry Kitzmann 2 years ago

      Again well done and appreciated my friend. Remembering Nam and the draft takes one back to a different time a different world. Many of us had a choice of leave the country-go to prison or two years with Uncle Sam. Like the vets today the country we came back to is not the country we left. There is always enough money for new weapon systems but never enough for those who must operate them. OK I shall refrain from going into a rant here. This is your page not mine. Take care my friend and again many thanks for remembering us.

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      I am just so sick war but if we have to send our people away to return to face their demons on their own that is a crying shame. I think we should be thinking long and hard about whether they should be sent to war in the first place.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Oh my God, you've got me bawling my eyes out, Bill! All I can say is I'm sharing this all over the place. This needs to be read by every American over and over again!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Buidreps and I agree, it is a bloody shame indeed.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell. I'm sorry to hear it is the same in the UK. Shame on both of our countries.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, for sure it is the reality of war and service. As a country we must do better in helping these soldiers when they come home. Thank you as always, my friend, and Happy Tuesday to you.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again, Mike, and obviously I agree with you.

      And what a surprise to hear that Harper Lee has another book....that was a shock!

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      Harish Mamgain 2 years ago from India

      I have utmost respect for our soldiers. A soldier's duty is so challenging and fraught with all kinds of dangers. Bill, this is a great and very passionate hub about the life of a soldier, when in service and after that. You highlighted the important points that are valid for every nation.

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      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      When I think of all the old and new entitlement programs that benefit many who have never contributed a thing to this country, it really makes me angry.

      It seems that now we are much more concerned about the welfare of those who are in this country illegally than we are about our returning vets.

      So what can we do about it? Sadly, there appears to be nothing we can do. Writing or calling our elected representative has about as much effect as complaining to your mother-in-law.

      If you have been paying attention, the scandal regarding our VA Hospitals has pretty much been buried and bonus's to VA officials are still being paid. Unfortunately the poor treatment of our vets has a very low priority with our Politicians and not much will ever change.

      What all of us can do is support veteran organizations such as "The Wounded Warrior Project" and others to fill the void of what our government should be doing. If we can't change Washington, we can at least go around them.

      Sorry for the rant on your hub Bill.

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      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      It's a bloody shame a nation treats their veterans as garbage. It should be a good reason to turn your back to the army in advance...

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      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Bill, this is so true, and even over here its the same thing, they don't get houses, get left on the streets dealing with their nightmares even in the daytime, its disgusting, even more than that. This was amazing and poignant to read, should be hotd!

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      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, this happened to my great uncle after WWII, my father during Vietnam and even one of my ex boyfriend's after Iraq. So, I am not stranger to it one bit and you said a mouthful and just wish that things could indeed be different, but sadly this is just the reality of war and the aftermath of war for soldiers, in general. Thank you for always being real and honest, my friend. Wishing you a good day ahead, as always.

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      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Well said indeed, if a serviceman/woman is prepared to risk life and limb for us, then Respect is the only acceptable behaviour from the rest of us.

      Graham.

      PS. I see your favourite book has follow up, written more than 50 years ago. Shortly to be on sale.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, it is shameful and it needs to end. As you said, it is shameful, and every American should feel the same. We need to force the politicians to see the light in this matter and make the necessary changes.

      Thank you my friend. You are a good man.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you John! Obviously I feel deeply about this, as I know many others do as well. Now we have to get the politicians onboard.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Bobbi! I think many of us have similar stories and that, right there, is the reason why I wrote this.

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      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Bill, you said this better than I have ever read it before.

      Our treatment of returning veterans is absolutely shameful as you point out in your Hub. Those who have never served have no idea what these young men and women have experienced.

      When I owned my business I always gave hiring preference to vets. First because I feel we owe them a good life, and second because they were all outstanding employees.

      I wish every company in the country would consider placing vets at the top of their hiring lists. They have things to offer any employer that is willing to give them a chance.

      But sadly, many employers views returning vets in the same light they view recently released convicts. They have no concept regarding what they are missing.

      Job well done my friend.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful sentiments in this hub Bill, war veterans should be revered for the sacrifices they have made and the atrocities they have endured in the name of their countries. This song is much deeper than it seems. Well done. Loved it.

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      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Bill,

      I knew this would make me cry---but I read it anyway as a hardheaded country girl.

      My Grandmother Knight would sing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" over and over during the day because my Uncle Bryson was a P.O.W. .

      My handsome uncle left home as a boy---years later when he returned as a man who witnessed "Hell" and all its demons. He was a wonderful person who I will always love, but he would not talk about the war.

      Have a wonderful day in your world.

      Bobbi Purvis

      Sharing with Twitter, pin on my Re-pin board and H+

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No, Jamie, thank you! Thank you for serving your country with honor.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, it breaks my heart too. We owe them so much.

      Thank you for being here this morning.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      All I can say is Thank You Bill. Thank you. Jamie

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      These young men will never be the same again, and that's a shame! So many can't find a job and are homeless. It breaks my heart!

      Voted UP, etc. and shared.