I have a friend whose father was an explosive specialist in Vietnam during the Tet offensive. He was an engineer and walked point. He broke his tailbone jumping into a ditch. He was testing the terrain.
He is still in therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He couldn’t hold a job because he was too explosive. If anyone touched him he would go crazy, fighting all the time, still fighting.
My friend says his father hates the 4th of July. The fireworks become tracers. “The red ones are theirs,” he told him. “And the green ones are ours.” It’s scary having a father like that.
He told me a story. He and his brother were spending the weekend at a cottage in the woods with their father when he found him inside, staring at a wall. He asked him what was wrong and his father said he was trying to remember the name of the corpsman who patched him up. He could see his face but couldn’t remember his name. He tried all weekend to remember that name. He wasn’t really at the cottage in the woods that weekend. He was sorting the red ones from the greens ones. He was looking for a friend.
He wouldn’t let his sons go in the service. He told them they could do anything but that.
I would pack my son off to Canada or further before I would let him be taken or coerced or bribed, whatever you want to call it when they dangle education, bonues and promises of honor and esteem in front of wondering eyes. I would pack him some cookies and peaches, blankets and sheets, candles, soap and towels. I would wish him music and books and easy nights and happy days. Can you pack a box of happiness? What would it cost to mail a box of happiness, return receipt requested?