November 29, 2010


Filed under: Essays — unwriter1 @ 4:17 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s the holiday season, time to ‘shop til we drop’. Or is it? Allow me a bit to paraphrase author Tim O’Brien. We carry credit cards, shopping bags, debit cards and presents for all our loved ones. We are carrying the tunes of the holiday. At home we carry the weight of how many guests for the holiday. We have an arsenal of spices and sweets along with all the expected fixin’s. We carry the responsibility of having Uncle Harry’s favorite brew and Aunt Martha’s choice of holiday teas. We carry the worry that the house won’t be clean enough or there won’t be enough food. But, there is something missing and the best way to show it is to put in a long quote from Tim O’Brien.

They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks.

They carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots.

They carried the M-16 assault rifle.

They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine-guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14’s, CAR-15’s, Stoners, Swedish K’s, 66mmLaws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence.

They carried C-4plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes. Some carried napalm, CBU’s and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage. Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive.

They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworm’s and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones – real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love:”Don’t mean nothin’!” They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity.

Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn’t; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said “Dear God” and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die. They carried the traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them.

They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier’s greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor. They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it. They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world.


What is missing is us remembering those that are in the military fighting for our freedoms. We need to carry the message that they too are in our hearts and thoughts. We need to start carrying altruistic thoughts. We need to keep our minds sharp and our eyes open and our pocket book closed and realize that there are millions in the world that don’t have the material things that we have. There are millions working and fighting side by side with these same non materialistic peoples because it is about freedom, the ability to say what we want, to buy or do what we want and to help others see that freedom does not mean that we are better. It means that there is not one religion that is better than another.

We are in a war, both home and abroad, not with guns but with words. We are not Muslim or Christian, or Jewish. We are people that have families. We need to carry the responsibility to learn to get along with others. We are not born to hate, we are raised that way. It is time to discard that baggage and take the weight of the world off of our shoulders. It is time to learn to get along and to raise our families in an environment of love and the fact that we are all individuals.

We need to carry love in our heart, on our sleeve and on our face!


  1. We sure need to remember them all.

    I remember the prc-25 being called prick during the Vietnam war.


    Comment by Jay Hudson — November 29, 2010 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  2. Ron. Wow. Just wow. Great post, man, this one touched my heart.

    Comment by The Old Silly — December 1, 2010 @ 5:49 am | Reply

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