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Randy Novotny takes you on a Freedom Journey


                        War, What is it Good For?


    In the spring of 1971, while I was a junior in high school my
    American History teacher brought a record into the classroom
    and played it for us.  The song was “War” by Edwin Starr.

    The song on the heels of Kent State reached #1 in the country
    for three weeks in the summer of 1970.  That fact surprised me
    since I didn’t recall hearing the song that much.

    For some reason, I always remember that day in the classroom
    and the lyrics of the song which were rather simple “War, what is
    it good for…..Absolutely nothing, sing it again” and it repeated it
    over and over and over again just adding a few lyrics.  

    It was a protest song; protesting the War in Viet Nam.
     
    I thought at the time and still do today that an American History
    class was a strange setting for the song to be played.  The
    teacher appeared uncomfortable as he placed the song on the
    record player and even stranger to me was we never discussed
    the song or its lyrics.

    The teacher had spent the entire year going over the benefits of
    war and how it assured our freedom.  We studied the benefits of
    them all from the Revolutionary War to the Korean War.

    Why was Viet Nam by this teacher and so many others perceived
    as being so different in our fight to maintain our freedom?  

    We were told over and over again by President Johnson and
    then President Nixon that it was important for us to be there
    because of something they called the “Domino Theory”.  If we let
    countries keep falling to communism our world would eventually
    be all communism.

    The two dominating communist countries of the time were the
    Soviet Union and Red China.

    Sometime in the late 60s our country had turned against our fight
    in Viet Nam.  We thought we were losing the war and a growing
    number of Americans questioned our reason for being there.  
    We left in 1973 thinking at best it ended in a draw.

    We treated our brave young men and women when they
    returned home from hell in a horribly embarrassing manner.

    One night back in the mid 80s, when we had just the right
    amount of beer in us, a friend of mine, a brave fighting soldier of
    the Green Beret, shared with me some of his experiences and
    insights into the fight for freedom in Viet Nam

    He told me about returning home as the only survivor of his
    unit.  He came through the airport in San Francisco and was
    jeered and spit at as he came through the gate.  He said it was
    most difficult not for himself but for the people he left behind,
    especially his best buddy that survived the combat, but was
    killed just moments before he was to go home.

    He was not killed by a soldier.  He was killed by a young boy they
    had befriended and they often gave cokes to.  The boy would
    shine their boots and do other chores for them.  They trusted
    him.

    They had no reason to suspect anything when he came with a
    coke for the soldier as a going away gift of appreciation.

    The coke was laced with bamboo shavings which if you consume
    with liquid will grow in your intestines until it destroys them and
    kills you.  It is a painful way to go.

    It was painful beyond comprehension for my friend to go through
    as well.  He told me if “War is Hell” this was far worse and way
    beyond hell.

    While we were listening to protest songs over here, this young
    Viet Namese boy and others were being taught how to befriend
    and eventually kill an American.

    When my friend shared his experiences with me he had the
    benefit of over 10 years to come to a conclusion of what it all
    meant.

    He said, “It was okay for those people at the gate in San
    Francisco to jeer and spit at me.  That is the reason we go to war
    and fight for freedom.  I and the people I left behind helped give
    those people that right.  That was their way of showing their
    freedom and that was okay and I have forgiven them”.

    He went on and explained, “what one person might despise
    another may see as an appropriate action of freedom.  No matter
    how it made me feel at the time, we fought for everyone’s
    freedom and not just for those we agree with”.

    Through the years, I have known many from that era that have
    carried with them not only the usual horrors of war, but also the
    burden of thinking it was not a just fight or a fight we benefited
    from.  

    There were no kisses of a nurse in Times Square by a sailor.

    Sometimes it is very difficult to determine at the time the true
    benefits of a war in the fight for freedom.  To me that really is the
    case with Viet Nam.  If you examine the world now over 35 years
    later you have to come to the conclusion that we succeeded in
    what we were trying to accomplish in Viet Nam.

    The Soviet Union has crumbled.  Many of its occupied countries
    of the time are no longer under the tyranny of communism.  Red
    China has been transformed into a capitalistic society or at least
    it seems like everything is made there today.   Viet Nam,
    Cambodia, and the other countries in that region, as far as I
    know, are giving us very little problems of concern.

    So, We Won in Viet Nam.  It helped stop the domino affect.  
    Johnson and Nixon were right and Walter Cronkite was wrong.  
    Who realized it?  Even Rambo didn’t!

    So, please brave fighting men and women of Viet Nam, ease
    some of your pain.  Your fight and the fight of your buddies, we
    lost, was not in vain.  You helped keep the world free.

    You may never be called the “Greatest Generation”, but you
    were pretty damn great, as well.

    So, tonight have as many beers as you want and can handle at
    your age, grab a nurse or two and celebrate the victory for
    freedom you won for many in Viet Nam.

    It’s about time!


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Eddie & Eydie See with Evelyn

See Eddie and Eydie See with
Evelyn...They are proud that
Evelyn arrived healthy at 8
pounds 7 ounces.

It cost them several 1000
dollars to have her.

In 1954, it cost less than $50 for
Evelyn's grandfather to be
delivered in the same hospital
and it included 3 days of room
and board for both the mother
and the baby

Unfortunetly, they are
concerned about their ability to
afford the needed health care.  

If something should happen to
Evelyn or one of them...they
might have to quit their jobs or
get divorced so they could get
the needed assistance from the
government.

This is not opinion....This is
Fact!
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