When I was drafted out of college, and
Americans were dying at a fierce rate in
Korea, and Truman’s War put the President
in political hot water, and my father had
already been in two armies and had
been shot in the WWI trenches in
France, he cried when I got on
the bus for Fort Ord.
He had seen the death of war and
here was his boy called from his well-
planned life to do battle. Looking back,
I had the sense of adventure in me.
I even volunteered for the combat.
I was willing to be the fodder of
war for the cause. It was the
thinking of a politically
unformed young man following in
the footsteps of his family. I had yet
to realize the complexity of pitting boys against
each other to die for land, or oil, or power,
or nationalism, or political style. I was
the perfect fatalist in that ugly brown
uniform, more than willing to end
my existence in hopes
of something better down the line,
matriculation in the bloodbath of idealism.
So there was the veteran standing by the bus
teary-eyed, knowledgeable of war but
caught up in fatherhood as his cheery
boy mindlessly headed out like
a cowboy to fight the Indians
of his childhood.