My wife is a Veteran. I’ve always stayed clear of the military as much as I could, although I spent a lot of time with returning Vietnam Vets in my early twenties. It seemed then that most of my male contemporaries were gone to war or returning ragged and unable to cope much with life back home.
I danced with them on Maine summer nights away from college, watched them get drunk driving me home and felt helpless to make anything right for them or for myself. I married a guy with a high lottery number after a three year college deferment. That was after I was asked to join the revolution by a guy who was interviewing me for a job in social services. I was a bit of a radical working in the ghetto of Newark, New Jersey, but I wasn’t ready for anarchy.
Do you feel like big brother is watching you? Sometimes when I write about myself, I wonder if some government agency will pick up on words I write and show up to question me now that our basic citizen rights have been terminated. My father is one of the few remaining WWII veterans. He has a purple heart and taking him to Applebees today for a free meal was a sweet experience today. My mother turned 90 yesterday and my father is on his way to 92. That they live together in their house, drive a four wheel drive car and pretty much take care of themselves is some kind of miracle. They spent their lives as Christian missionaries and ministers. Their faith is deep and all encompasing. Their longevity may have something to do with that sense of pupose they carry.
Moving to rural Maine is like moving to another planet. People here work hard, at least those who can find work. There is a deep bone poverty here. Many natives seem isolated from the rest of the country. I observed a lot of respect for veterans today, the kind