For many people, the 1950’s conjure up images of Rock-n-Roll, the Korean War, Sputnik, Jazz, “The Golden Age of Television,” and the sleek and classy cars. On February 3, 1959 “The Day the Music Died” a chartered plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson Rock-n-Roll musicians crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa in foggy conditions killing everyone.
For me, 1959 conjures up memories when I was involuntarily recruited into the predominantly Chicano/Latino White Fence gang which was considered one of the most violent and powerful gangs in East Los Angeles, while I was living with my single parent family and attending junior high school. The White Fence was the first gang in East Los Angeles to use firearms, chains and other dangerous weapons. I remember having my homemade zip gun consisting of a metal tube taped to a wooden stock and firing a .22-caliber bullet.
Yes, I am a Vietnam Veteran. However, I don’t have to be a Veteran to share my personal belief that Veteran’s Day must not be simply another day of celebration. I believe that it should be specifically about inspiring us to celebrate our Veterans every day! In every way possible.
Veterans dedicated and risked their own lives to protect each of us and our families. And to protect our country. Many carry the memories, traumas, health issues and PTSD the remainder of their life.
Should you, and I seriously give less in protecting the well-being of our Veterans? They are yours, mine and everyone’s Veteran. They are family.
You have my permission to share this post exactly as it is presented with the content and image. I do not know who to credit for the incredible image. I stood at the Wall and had the same experience. Even more powerful in person.
While I was growing up my brother, eight years older than me, would sometimes buy me gifts that he especially liked, for Christmas when he had some extra money. Whether it was a box kite or remote control car, he would always demonstrate the proper way to use it without giving me an opportunity to try it first. He would set it up, try it out, and then promptly break it before I even had a chance to try it out myself.
One Christmas when I was in elementary school, I decided to change this pattern. He gave me a gift of a plastic soldier on a gas-powered flying hovercraft platform that came with a remote control. He set everything up, fueled it and just before he launched it, I grabbed the remote control and immediately sent it straight up as high as it would go. While he watched, his mouth open in shock, I decidedly powered it straight down into the alley asphalt until it hit with a terrific explosion. He remained standing with his mouth agape; he turned and looked down at me shaking his head in stunned disbelief. I smiled and walked away delighted. This was the last Christmas gift he ever bought me, and the best Christmas I ever had as a child.