I was 10 and 11 years old when my brother was wounded in Vietnam during the TET Offensive.
The first time he was wounded, shot, I was 10. The second time he was wounded I was 11. I remember the Marine Corps car pulling in to the drive twice.
It should have been a mortal wound, but somehow when the mortar round exploded behind him on August 4, 1968
He was shot in the leg in Hue, patched up and sent back. The history books will tell you that the battle of Khe Sanh ended late June 1968. Roger, my brother told us that he caught shrapnel under his flack jacket as he lifted a body/buddy into a medevac chopper on August 4, 1968.
It should have been a mortal wound, but somehow when the mortar round exploded behind him on August 4, 1968, he must have been scooped up immediately by personnel on the chopper. They managed to keep him alive until he could be patched up enough in a a field hospital to be shipped to Japan for a few weeks of surgeries and then transferred back to Great Lakes Naval Academy. It was at least 6 months before he was able to come home for a few days.
This is what I think of first on Veteran’s day.
I also think of my cousin Rick who was wounded in Vietnam; he has a metal plate replacing part of his skull.
Uncle Carl, my mom’s brother, was wounded while based in England in WWII. He lost hearing in one ear.
Uncle Fred, my mother’s mother’s brother, was in Europe in WWI and was disabled the rest of his life.
My father’s great grandfather, John M. Hill, enlisted in the Union Army twice. He survived Gettysburg, but caught a mini ball in his hand at another battle.
My family seems to have a penchant for being wounded. Although my brother Max served and was not injured. My husband is a veteran, and was not injured.
I wore my pro-soldier, pro-peace button today. I kept thinking about my womanly, sisterly duty to —
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
— from A Mothers Day Proclamation of 1870 by Julia Ward Howe
Veteran’s Day will now always be associated with my brother’s passing. May you Rest in Peace, you gave everything.