Statistics and bayonets

8 11 2007

There is a new study that shows that 1 in 4 homeless people in the US are veterans. This is a disturbing statistic.

Obviously these individuals were mentally stable at one point in their lives or they would have not been accepted into the military. Were their military experiences so horrible that they are now unable to make a positive contribution to society?

My dad was drafted into the Vietnam War. We have touched on his experience once in my lifetime. We have never had any major discussion. When I was a child, I asked him a lot of questions that he would not answer. As an adult I understand that war is not something a man would want to discuss with his daughter.

A few years ago my dad was giving a presentation at work. He was very nervous about it and asked me to be his test audience. During the presentation he used a long metal “pointer.” I asked him where he got it? He said that it was a bayonet that he had taken off of a dead Vietcong in the jungle. What a strange souvenir to keep.

My dad was in Vietnam from the age of 20 until he was 22. I am much older than that at this point in my life. I can’t imagine what kind of experience it was for him. I see movies about the war and the era and wonder if the film is doing a good job of representing a situation similar to that of my dad’s.

My dad is known for his kindness. He is a very patient man and nice man. But in no way is he a pushover. I try to model myself after him, this man that has a past I will never know about. This man who brought back a bayonet from a war into which he was drafted.

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