Monday, May 2, 2011

Yes, We Ask A Lot

By Ambusher

The Navy Seals killing Bin Laden made me think of Jay, whom I will only call by his first name out of respect for his family. He is the only Navy Seal I have ever known. We went to school and played on our high school football team together, he was a defensive tackle and a good one.

After high school, we both went to Vietnam. I with the 11th Infantry Army, while Jay went into the Navy and became a Navy Seal. I would not see Jay again until a few years after the war when we happened to meet in a bar close to our old high school. Jay had too much to drink so I gave him a ride home. When we got inside I was shocked. There was no furniture and clothes were scattered all over the place, it was a mess. We sat on the floor and drank another beer while not saying a word to each other. Jay got up and walked into his bedroom and came out carrying a NVA helmet and a Viet Cong flag. He said, "I want you to have these", I told him I could not take them. Those were his memories. I had no right to them. He smiled and said "fine", then he walked over and threw them into the garbage. He turned to me and said, "You have to go now, I don`t ever want to see you again". I was taken aback by this but I wished him well and left.

About 3 months later Jay put a 45 pistol in his mouth and blew his brains out. At his funeral I had a chance to talk to his Mom. She showed me all the awards and medals he had received while in Vietnam. With a tear running down her cheek as she looked at Jay's medals, she asked me, "Why do they ask so much?" I knew she was asking about the military, but I had no answer. Everyone who has served in the military have their ghosts. For some the ghosts are too overwhelming.

Editing courtesy of Alicia Diviak

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