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rank 1014
word count 228061
date submitted 08.02.2011
date updated 15.08.2013
genres: Non-fiction, History, Biography, Ha...
classification: universal
complete

When Pride was Not an Option

David Turner

I was still a kid. Would my parents sign, letting me go in the Army, or just tell me to go back to school?

 

The helicopter started to descend. My gut floated a little bit. It usually settled down. Not this time. It got stronger. My butt clenched first, then everything else followed until my whole body was stiff.

I forced myself to reach up and rack a shell in the chamber, then repeated it, just to make sure and regretted wasting it. Even with fifteen hundred rounds between my legs, it never felt like I had enough.

This time would be bad. Everyone knew it. The first time had not gone well at all and no one expected what had happened, especially me. I still had not fully recovered from the stark terror I still felt inside from what can only be described as total chaos and I dreaded what lay ahead.

Why did I ever get myself into this situation? How did the decisions I made cause me to end up here? This is nothing at all like I thought it would be and not how things were supposed to happen. How could I have been so completely wrong? I glanced at my watch. It was ten a.m. I would have been in 10th grade Latin class.

 
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a soldiers family, action, adolescence, adventure, american history, army, battle, combat, combat fatigue, coming of age, door gunner, family, going o...

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              Whenever Two or More are Gathered

 

    Life, for me, was just beginning to settle in. Not readjust, mind you. I still thought about the war every day, sometimes, several times a day. It seemed that America just wanted to leave me alone. Well, I wasn't ready to be left alone! I found myself watching the T.V. Guide, for any movies or talk shows, that had anything in them, about Vietnam. I was still filled with unanswered questions, and I figured that by seeing a movie, or hearing someone else talk about their experiences, I may find some answers.

We were on a lot of talk shows. I kept watching, and waiting for one of them to stand up and tell America just what they saw happening. But, it never happened. Nobody ever even hinted around that this whole thing might just be a simple communication problem. And the things that the Vets said, were things that only other Vets could understand. Sure, they spoke in English, but, it seemed to me that the words we spoke actually had a different meaning than what everyone understood. The Vet would say something, which was perfectly clear to me what he meant, and the interviewer, would ask another question, just like he didn't hear at all.

    I was getting an attitude about this country, that was "Fine, if you don't like me...I didn't like you first!" I started looking for ways to keep my identity. I started wearing my shirts all the time again, which upset mom, but, I no longer cared. If no one wanted to recognize me on their own, then I would make them. I watched the newscast one Veterans day, and I immediately spotted the other Vietnam Vets. They always stood out at any gathering of this nature. Most Vets, of other wars, would come out in their dress greens, or dress blues. Many of them had those hats that had V.F.W. or D.A.V. printed on them.

    Not the Vietnam Vet! He usually showed up in jungle fatigues, a boonie hat, often shoulder length, or longer, hair, and always the tear drop shades.

    When I could see them, I looked into their eyes. They were almost always filled with tears. I knew that there was more hurt in them, than one good cry, could eliminate. But, it seemed to help. I know. I did it too!

    I went to the Memorial Day Parade in my town that year. I wore my flight shirt. Someone stole my boonie hat, a couple weeks before then, and I felt out of uniform without it. Why anyone would steal an old dirty hat, I never could figure out. I noticed a couple other Vietnam Vets, standing on the other side of the street.

Every once in a while, we would catch ourselves staring at each other. None of us acknowledged any of the others. We had come to the point where we were afraid to do even that. Sad as it was, I knew that it would be a while before I tried it. Towards the end of the parade, the Blue Star Mothers, walked by. This was an organization made up of Mothers who had lost their sons in the war. As they slowly walked by, tears came welling up in my eyes, and I found it hard to breath. I felt no particular reason behind them. I knew none of these Mothers, or their sons, personally. It just seemed like a good time to cry, and get away with it, and it seemed like I was always looking for such a reason.

I glanced across the street, to one of the other Vets. He turned his head slowly towards me, and as he did, the tears on his cheek, reflected, in the bright sunlight. I nodded....just slightly. He nodded back, and I cried a little more.    The parade passed by, and the crowd was starting to break up. I stood there for a while longer, and I noticed the other Vet did too. I had no plans to go talk to him. Something inside me, told me, we already were! That ability, to be able to speak volumes to each other, with just a glance, or a nod. I believed that it came from, our time together, in Vietnam. We were all so close! There was little, or nothing, that we couldn't talk about.

There was no class system. We all wore green. There was only the rank system, put there by the Army, and even a lot of that disappeared, after hours. We could sit around for hours, never even speaking, and feel totally comfortable. What this other Vet was telling me, was that even though I was all alone, I was not alone, and I realized, what it was, we didn't have. It was the ability to communicate on a civilian level! We were not civilians anymore, and we never would be again! I went home, not looking forward to the future with any hope at all, of a return to some kind of normal lifestyle.

    As soon as I walked in the door, the phone rang. God must have known,

I needed some help.

   “Hello?” I said nonchalantly.

   “Holycross, is that you?”

    The voice sounded exactly like it was coming in through the headphones

in my helmet. It was John!

   “It's you......isn't it!”

    “Dang right it is!” he replied

    Lights came on again at the sound of that voice, partly because he was still alive, and mostly because he was probably the only person on earth, that I really wanted to see right then.

    “John!.....Man!....Where are you?”

   “I'm at my house!” he replied. I didn't think it strange, him not calling it home.

    There was complete silence on the phone lines, for almost a minute, but we spoke those volumes. I didn't even feel the need to speak, and I don't think he did either! It was like..... we were touching......... re-establishing contact. I could actually feel his heart beat, on the other end.

   “How do I get there?”

    Thirty minutes later, I was on my way to Chicago. I stole Bryan's car. Well, his had F.M., and I was into that now. I left my keys on the counter for him. I would deal with it later. I was on my way to see John!

    Chicago seemed like it was a million miles away. I couldn't believe I was going to see his face. I thought about all of the things we went through together, and I realized, now that I had something to compare it with, just how close we really were! We lived, we fought, back to back, we cried together. We ate, and even slept together, when the rains flooded the bottom bunk. Around here, it was swim, or sink! We shared our fears, and our sorrows, and as time went on, fewer and fewer words were needed, to make ourselves understood. We accepted each other exactly for what each was, and nothing more was needed. It was such a peaceful easy friendship to have, that I have absolutely no idea what-so-ever, why people around here, wouldn't like to have a friend like that!

    Then, something I thought of brought me back to reality. Here I go again! Dropping my guard. Almost every time I've done it so far, I've been slapped in the face! This is just a war buddy, who wants to see you, I tried to tell myself. No.....No it wasn't....This was John! Everything was going to be just fine!

    And fine it was! As I pulled down his side street, there he was, jumping up and down in the middle of the road. I told him what kind of car to look for, and when he saw it, he almost got run over by me, as he ran up to drag me out of it! Imagine the irony of that! I stopped the car in the middle of the road. He jumped in, and we looked at each other.

   “OOHH Man...You ugly sucker.....It's so good to see you!” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

   “Hey! Don't give me that! You was the ugly one!”

Something caught my attention in the rear view mirror. Immediately, John picked up on my mood. I still didn't like being approached by the rear. For half a second, we were the old team again, just like we never parted. He quickly turned around to see what it was. Then he smiled.

   “It's my neighbor!” he said. “He'll wait.”

    I looked back in the mirror, and to my complete surprise, the guy was reading his paper! I looked back at John. That bitch already had his neighborhood trained to leave him alone! I pulled ahead to let him pass anyway. In my eyes, this was the guy to worry about, not John!

   “So, how ya been man” he asked.

   “Good.....real good! How about you?”

   "Me too!...Yea, I'm doing all right! Listen!" he said. "Come on in and meet my folks.

   "Lets roll!" I said trying to get some of the old camaraderie going again. It didn't fly, and we both realized it, probably because we didn't talk like that over there.

    He took me into his house. His parents were standing in the kitchen. They looked like good old fashioned folks. John introduced us, and they asked me to please have a seat.

   "John told us that you were in his unit." That was W.W.II talk, I thought. They used the word unit. We used the word company.

"We were on the same helicopter." I answered.

   "Yes, he told us that too. I'll bet you two are really glad to see each other again."

    We looked at each other. Tears immediately started to form, in both our eyes.

   "What! This ugly thing!" he blurted out.

    I smiled, temporarily holding back that release, that we both knew we were going to be able to have, once we were alone. I felt like we were having fore play.

   "I told you, you was the ugly one!"

    Everyone laughed, and John took it as his chance.

"Let me show you my room!" he said, starting to get up already. His Mother got this look on her face, then she looked over at me. I knew she wanted to say something. I knew she wanted to talk more. I think she wanted to ask me something. And, I wanted to answer her.

   "Let's roll!" John said, and it broke the spell. How come shit always works for him? I got up, and glanced one more time at John's Mom. Even though I saw a hint of defeat, I could see her determination showing through. She wanted her son back! And she wasn't going to give up. I thought about my own situation, and I wondered if other people could see that in my Mother. I wondered if John could see it, in his.

    I followed John through the hallway to his room. I wasn't surprised to see it decorated, somewhat like a bunker. I couldn't do this, in my families den. I needed my own place!

    We went in, and I turned around, to compliment him on his taste. I watched as he closed the door, and turned around. I held my words when I saw the look on his face. It had changed, from happy, to that of a desperate man.

   "I don't belong here!" he said. No, I thought, he couldn't see it.

   "Well, come to Michigan with me!" I answered.

   “No, Man, That's not what I mean!......I mean....I don't belong in this country anymore!

    It finally struck home! If John said it, it had to be true. The Vietnam Vet, was not a welcome part of America!

   "I know man!" I wasn't alone! I thought. John felt it too!

   "I mean like, I just want to give up! I just don't care anymore!"

It hit me. John had only been home, I figured, for about a month. I thought back to that time in my own life. Now I was the one who had the seniority. I remembered the times, when different words were coming from his mouth, especially the time, when I told him that I didn't care. I even got a little excited, as I savored the words that I'd waited a long time, to give back to him.

   "You Better!" I said, and it sounded just like I hoped it would.

    He looked at me, and then he smiled! He knew exactly What I was doing, and instead of being upset, that I finally got him back or something, he was glad that we still had it. It, was our conversation. We have been carrying on, the same one, ever since we met. One of us might say something out of the blue, and the other one would know exactly where they were coming from.

    I took a good look at him. This wasn't the Easy Rider I knew. Oh, his heart, and his mind were still the same, but his spirit was broken. He had lost that confident look that I always admired in him. I wondered how I looked to him. He would be the only one, on earth, able to tell me if it was "being here", that was changing us. One thing I did know, we could do each other a lot of good.

   "Want to cruise back to Michigan for a week or so?" I asked.

    He pointed to his duffel bag, all packed, and smiled.

   "You could ask me?"

    I noticed that he changed a little bit, just before he opened the door. I remembered that look, from somewhere. It was serious, like he was mentally preparing himself.....That's it! It was the same look I saw on his face, as he walked out the door of our room, on the day of our first mission. That "Wise as a serpent" look. I tried to copy it, but it still didn't feel right on my face.

    There were a few more "nice to have met you's", and one more look from John's Mom. I found myself hoping that she gets what she wants, for her sake, and John's. John grabbed up his duffel bag, kissed his Mom on the cheek, and was halfway out the door before I knew it. I turned to his Mom.

   "Maybe we'll meet again!" I said.

   "That would be nice!" she answered. And I turned to catch up with John, who was already standing at the car.

    I first noticed it, when we got in the car. We had known each other over a year, and never got into a car together. I realized that this was going to be all brand new, and we were going to have to wing it, from here on out. But, I figured that if anyone could, John and I could.

    There was another feeling, that seemed brand new. With John in the car with me, it seemed that the car, and it's occupants, actually belonged, exactly where they were. Right then, I didn't need the whole country, just the car, and John. I was beginning to get a feeling of confidence, that I wasn't even able to find inside my shirt anymore. Every time I looked over at him, and could see out of the corner of my eye, him looking over at me, I felt a surge of power go through me. John was on my side! I knew it for a fact! We had proven it to each other, too many times, to ever doubt it again!

    We made mostly small talk, as he guided me through the city, back to the expressway. I had a surprise for John, in my shirt pocket, and I was waiting till I could get to someplace where I would be more relaxed. The city freaks me out. There is too much going on around me, and I get this real helpless feeling. It's very uncomfortable. I knew that no matter how long I would ever be back, I would never grow used to this.

    We got out on the E-way, and I reached into my pocket, and handed one to John.

   "What's this?" he asked. I knew he knew exactly what it was, by the way it was rolled.

   "Homegrown!" I half yelled, and we both cracked up, but, for different reasons.

    That opened the door back up. Neither of us stopped talking. Here was two guys, who used to speak in grunts and nods, not being able to shut up. Most of the time, we were finishing each others sentences, so we could start our own. It was "Remember this?" "Yea, remember that?"

    Then, with some unspoken cue, that both of us heard, we stopped talking. That was enough. We had been brought up to date, and both of us knew it. And, we both knew that we had other things to talk about.

   "Man! Turner! It's good to see your ugly face!" he said.

   "I told you!"....then I stopped. I knew that he was just trying to get us started, and he didn't have a clue as to how, either.

   "I missed you too man!"

   "So....What do you think of all this?"

   "I'll tell you what!" I said. "The only thing I'm really sure of, is the fact that I'm not really sure of anything!"

    When he didn't answer, I looked over, to see him staring at me, with tears streaming down his face. Mine, which hardly needed any prompting lately, followed suit.

   "God it's been rough!" he said. "They spit on us at the Airport man! One of them even reached through the fence with a cane and broke this dudes plasma bag, and he was on a stretcher man!

   "A fence? What do you mean fence?"

"I mean a fence man! They built a fence, to keep the protesters away from us! They hate us man!"

I thought how lucky I was. I don't know if I could have taken that, not that soon anyway. I also knew that I had to change the subject. I didn't come all this way to pick him up, just to bitch. Once again he seemed to know what I was thinking.

   "Hey man!...You remember when we were on guard duty, and I made you shoot that snake?" John didn't like snakes....at all!

   "Yea, you douche bag, every bunker on the north side was popping flares. They thought we were being over run! And when the O.D. came down, you blamed it on me!"

    We both started laughing. Then I remembered how much trouble I got into, and I didn't think it was all that funny anymore. He saw that in me, and figured he better stop too, and change the subject. Then we both looked at each other, and knew exactly what all, had just happened, and we laughed again, cause we both knew, we still had it.

"We had some good times, you and me!" I said.

"There not over yet!" he replied.

    And so it went, for the entire five hour ride back. The laughter, and the tears, up, and down. There was so much bottled up inside, and it was finally getting released, and it all wanted to come out at once. I had begun to feel like I was drowning, and this felt like I just came up for air. We talked about simple things, like we were trying to see if they were really true, or just memories we made up. In the reality we were living in, we had both begun to doubt even the reality of Vietnam sometimes. We talked about our room. It is hard to describe, to someone who wasn't there, just how cool we thought it was. We had a parachute ceiling, stereo, black lights, all the luxuries, a man could need. It was great, but you had to be there, to really appreciate it, and John had!

We could cover whole operations in our minds, with just a few words. John was not just someone who had been there. He was better than that! He had been there, with me! He had seen the left side, of everything, that I saw the right side of. He was the other half of my memory! Together, we were stereo.

    I was determined not to let our time together, end, until I sorted some things out, and by the way he was talking, he was feeling the same way too!

    We arrived in Pontiac, about four A.M. I pulled into a twenty four hour restaurant, where I knew some of the people. We were going to have some breakfast, because I had suddenly, and strangely, gotten real hungry, and wait for the sun to come up.

    We pulled into the parking lot, like I had done so many times before, on my lonely "night patrols". I felt like this time, it was going to be different. Other times, I just went in there for coffee. If I could find someone who would listen, I would try to tell them how I felt. If there wasn't anyone, and there hadn't been in a while, I just sat there, and drank my coffee. The cooks, and most of the waitresses, knew who, or at least what I was, because of my shirt, and because I spillled my guts to each of them, at one time or another.

    But, John was here now. He was not just part of some story, he was real! I really had no idea, if anything at all different, was going to happen in there, but I couldn't wait to find out.

    We walked in, both of us in our "shirts", and he, in his boonie hat. As usual, he had to look, just a little bit cooler, than me! I did miss my hat though, but we were two now, and that was making up for it.

    I can't quite describe the feeling that we were sharing at that moment. It was a combination of pride, joy, togetherness, strength, and right, coupled with the first real feeling of belonging I had felt, since coming back. We sat down in a corner booth, that we both seemed to be heading for, at the same time. I was finding out that many of our reactions, were still alike. Sandy, the waitress, walked up to us, and smiled.

   "Coffee?" she asked.

   "Why not!" I said.

   "You guys twins?" she asked, as she poured.

    There it was! That condescending, who are you, attitude, I had come across so many times! I wanted to rip right into her! I wanted to show off, to John. Who did she think she was, that she could talk to us like that?"

   "I guess you could say that!" John answered. The matter-of-fact tone in his voice, calmed me down. I grinned as I realized that I didn't feel embarrassed anymore. I realized that Sandy didn't make that remark, with any conscious effort, but, I was just getting tired of this new attitude I was seeing in people. I understood that the Vietnam War wasn't the blame for this. It can be traced all the way back to the Indians. We were being cast, as just another "slightly different" minority, that was voted in, somewhere down the line.

    John's confident answer, had turned everything around, without shedding a drop of innocent blood. I could see the change, taking place in her mind. Without tearing her apart, and making us look like idiots in front of everyone, he had brought us together. He acted like ours was the game to play, and dang if it didn't work. I think it surprised even him! She sat down next to me.

   "Were you two over there together?"

   "Let me introduce my brother to you!" I jumped in.

   "You guys are brothers?" she interrupted.

    Well, not really brothers, I thought. Then I changed my mind.

   "Yea, I guess we are!" said John, and all I could do, was smile.

   "This is John!" I said. My crew chief, and the left side gunner on our helicopter....in Vietnam!" I added, just to remove all doubt. "John, this is Sandy, a waitress, and a stateside friend!" John had started something, and I wanted to keep it going. This was our thing, and I was not ready then, if ever, to let anyone else, in on it.

   "How long were you two together, over there?" she asked. I could sense that she somehow wanted to be a part of what we had, and that only made it seem that much more valuable, and harder to get at.

   "About a year!" John answered. Shit, I knew exactly how long it was, and I knew he did too! Everything over there was counted, in months, in days, and sometimes, even in minutes. But, it just didn't seem to matter if Sandy knew, or not.

   "It must have been rough!" she said. Of course, they all say that.

   "We had our times, good, and bad!" I answered this time.

    And so it went. Other waitresses, and even a couple of customers, sitting at a table near us, wanted to join in the conversation, in those wee hours. Everyone suddenly wanted to claim some sort of association with us.

   "Yea! I had a cousin over there!" one would say.

   "I wanted to go, but they wouldn't let me, bad eyes." another one said.

    During all of this, I was losing my need to have any of them understand. It didn't matter anymore if they did know that "terrible thrill" of combat, and all of the other good, and bad emotions, that were commonplace over there, and quite unique, over here. John and I knew, and now, that was all that mattered. I looked at him. He was starting to look like the old John that I once knew. I knew we were helping each other, a lot. I was already starting to miss him all over again, and our time together hadn't even started yet! In the meantime, I was starting to get bored with all of these good folks. There wasn't any satisfaction in telling them anything. With John here, I no longer had the need. I wondered if he was feeling the same way.

   "Wanna go?" he asked.

    I still marveled at out togetherness, both in thought, and action. Then I remembered that John and I had spent our first real years on our own, together.

    All of my former friends impressions of this world, came from being in this world. Their character, came from it. John and I missed those years, as far as this countries impressions of life were concerned. But now, I was beginning to realize, that we had something else to replace it with. Something I was beginning to feel, was better. Also, we had a togetherness, those around us, could only imagine!

    I paid for our breakfast, and we walked out into the sunrise. I felt, once again, that this was the first day, of the rest of my life. As we got into the car, John again spoke for both of us.

"It's really great, you know it?"

"Yea, I know!" I said, without asking him exactly what he meant, cause I knew.

    The old confidence was there. That feeling of being covered on both sides. I knew then, that I had better make the most of this, cause it may never happen again.

    We pulled up into the driveway, and I realized that I was in Doug's car. I wondered how him and Mom were going to take this. We walked in, and I saw her standing in the kitchen, still cleaning, the same clean counter.

   "Your brother wrecked your car last night! Is this the John you've been talking about?"

   "Yea Mom! John, meet my Mother. Mom, this is John!" Then the first part of her sentence sunk in.

   "He wrecked my car? Is he all right?"

   "He's fine, but your car has a few dents in it."

Well, I'll kill him later I thought. I wasn't really that concerned about it.  It was probably the best time he could have done it, and got away with it. Material things were losing their meaning to me. These feelings, that I was beginning to experience, were fast becoming the most important thing in my life, and I was not going to waste any of them, on trivial stuff!

    Mom could see that John meant something to me. She could also see that we had what she could see, as a secret or something. Only it wouldn't have been a secret, if she had only listened to me before. I was beginning to believe that John was adding to my credentials. I always had the feeling before, that no one really believed that I was really over there! But, here was someone from another state, coming here, and saying that he saw me there.

    I was still trying to prove something. Prove that I was a Vet maybe!

    Easy Rider and I spent quite a week together. We hit every place I knew. I was showing him off. Well, actually, he was showing me off. I was using him, and he understood, and helped. I believed I was helping him too, because I could see his old confidence, coming back.

    We spent our last day together, at my Grandma's farm. That night, we went out to the old barn, behind the house. We climbed up on the roof, laid back, and just looked at the stars for a while. Neither of us said anything for at least a half hour. We didn't have to. The old peaceful feeling was back. I heard him take a deep breath, and slowly exhale. I knew, Once again, I felt it too. I knew our time was coming to an end. I left country, quite unexpectedly, and we never really got the chance to properly say good bye. Now, I was wondering if this was it, for good. I hoped not. I was going to try to talk him into staying. I thought I could. He seemed pretty relaxed here in Michigan. I pulled out the last joint of Vietnam weed, that I had, and lit it up. It seemed like the proper thing to do.

   "My cousin Tom and I used to lay up on this roof, like this." I said. It seems like hundreds of years ago. Maybe even different stars.

   "I know Holy Cross, it's been real hard for me too. Everything has changed. All those things we kept talking about over there, trying to keep the memories alive! Those things don't even exist anymore. They might as well have sent us back to a different country!"
 
"Welcome to the real world!" I laughed. That was the other thing  I wanted to be able to say to him, and even if it didn't quite fit, I didn't think I would ever have another chance.

    He looked at me, like for once, he didn't understand what I meant. So, I explained my theory, similar to what he just said.

   "You don't think it's funny, do you?" he asked.

   "No....No John, I don't. But I don't know what else to do. I've got to laugh. I'm tired of crying!"

   "What do you think it will be like for us when we separate this time?" he asked."

    I didn't want to tell him just how much I'd been dreading it. This whole week was overshadowed by the thought, that soon, too soon, it would all be over, again. I didn't want to think about how things were, and would probably be again. I didn't know if I was strong enough to make it on my own.

   "Your worried.....aren't you?"

    Sometimes I just wish he wouldn't do that!

   "A little bit, I guess. John, you know as well as I do, it's a number ten L.Z. out there. Your the only R.& R. I've had, since coming home!"

   "Same here man!" he said. "But you know we can't be flying cover ship for each other forever. We've got to go solo sometime!"

   "No we don't!......at least not right now. You could stay.......at least for a month or two. You could find a job....."

   "Holy Cross, I can't man!"

   "You better have a good reason....or else I might keep you here!"

    He got serious for a second.

   "It's a chick Turner! I think I'm in love with her!"

    I never even thought about the one thing that, naturally, could come between us. The one thing, that both of us needed, even more than each other, right now. John found his, and that made me feel even more alone. Now I was without my Crew Chief. Up until just then, I never really thought about finding a woman to call my own. I had been too busy trying to find my own.

A new kind of emptiness filled my heart. I forgot about John for a moment, and started thinking about my self. Without realizing it, John showed me how to head in an actual direction!  It's time I stopped searching for something I'm not even sure of, and start doing things, with what I am. I started seeing some of the things I had been missing. I realized that many of the things I dreamed of, were still possible. I had been wasting my time, trying to be so sure that everyone else understood me, that I forgot how to understand my self.

   "Look man!" he said quietly, after a few moments silence. "It won't be that bad anymore. All we needed, was to touch base once again. We just had to stop, and realize that were still okay!"

   "Yea, I know. I just realized that very fact. I'm just afraid....that when we part, it will go back to how it was, and I don't think I can take it anymore!

   "You don't think I didn't consider that, when I was trying to make up my mind?"

    Then, he did consider staying! That made me feel a little better. I mean after all, it's a chick were talking about. I took the roach, gave it one last hit, and passed it to him.

   "Last hit!" I said. It was ceremony time. He took it between his fingers, and looked at it for a second. Then he took a deep hit, held it up in the air, and flicked it over the edge of the roof. We both exhaled at the same time.

"John.....your some dude! I said, as we got up, at the same time, to go back to the house. "And I really hope you find all that you are looking for, in life!"

"You too, my brother!" and he put his arm around my shoulder. "You too!"

    We laid there in our beds, talking quietly through the night. The same beds that I once laid in, as a kid, and listened to the grown ups tell their stories. How different it seemed! Where I was, and how I was feeling, was not my great expectation! But, on the other hand, something that began here, was ending here.

It was like the war was coming to an end for us. This was the talk we never got to have, the one we couldn't have had anyway, because we didn't have any idea, how things were going to be. I was trying to gear my self up, to the fact that I was going to have to carry on, by myself, and I still wasn't sure I could. I knew that I still didn't want to. Still, I was thankful that he was still alive, and that I did get to see him again. I was hoping, that would be enough! And, just like we had been talking out loud, all along....

"You know. It shouldn't make any difference, what people think. We ought to be able to be free, without their consent!"

    I didn't answer. I couldn't. I was crying again. I was really going to miss him! He even knew that, cause neither of us spoke again till morning, and neither of us slept.

    The drive back seemed to take forever. I just wanted to get this over with. I hated long good byes. Neither of us spoke much. We said all there was, and now, we were just being together, just like over seas. I felt a strange peace. A peace, that I would fight to keep, if necessary. If I didn't lose all of this new found confidence, as soon as John stepped out of the car, I was going to try to build a life around it.

We got to his street, and I felt the lump forming in my throat. I didn't want to stop, and I was sure I felt that he didn't want me to. He didn't say anything, so I pulled into a parking space in front of his house.

   "Listen my brother! You take good care of yourself!" he said, and I realized he was right. It was better to get this over with quick.

   "You too, John Williams.......You too!....I'll always think of you!"

    He slapped me on the back of the head.

   "I won't forget you either!" he said, and he quickly got out of the car.

    As he turned for one last look, and I knew he would, I could see wet streaks, coming down the sides of his glasses. I looked up to his house. There was his mother, staring out the window. I nodded, and she smiled. I hoped she would be able to see, and help with, the change in her son. I drove away, wondering if I would ever see him again. I did know, because of the time we spent together, that somewhere in this world......I still had a friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapters

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JamesRevoir wrote 979 days ago

Hello David:

Different people write about war for a variety of reasons...more often than not because sex and violence sell, and war movies/books more than deliver.

I am speechless as I read this work...it is absolutely amazing beyond words. I can tell you how intensely gripping the book is from the very start, but I sense you wouldn't care. What makes makes this book so unique is the heart behind it: a heart which has gained a tremendous amount of wisdom through some very harsh experiences which most of us will never have to know. I believe that the trauma which you have experienced is not without redemption. You may be saving many lives unawares by virtue of imparting your hard-earned wisdom to those who might otherwise make the same mistakes as you did in your youth; i.e., being caught up in the "glory" of war.

I pray that you may continue to find healing and peace. A thankful (and unfortunately, even a thankless) nation owes more to you and to your fellow soldiers than they will ever know.

Blessings to you and thanks for so transparently giving of yourself to write this book.

James Revoir

J.Adams wrote 1116 days ago

The way this book is written is like I'm sitting at David's kitchen table, coffee in hand, listening to him talk about how his life went into this completely unplanned direction that took him on a profound and profoundly unexpected, never-dreamed of journey. His understanding of who he was as a teen - over forty years ago - is recalled as though it was yesterday when he half, or more than half hoped his parents would reach out and reel him back in before he had signed his fate away to the military. His disillusionment with the treatment in boot camp is strangely juxtaposed against his pride in having accomplished both getting through basic training and his learning to start reading people and situations - something kids don't often do, but adults must learn to do.

I can't help but feel angry with his parents for not protecting him, but I don't know what it would be like to have a father who served in the military (my father had scoliosis and was denied), I don't come from a family that takes pride in military service or accomplishments - although my sister's father-in-law recalls his time in the military, during WWII as the most rewarding time of his life, the time he was most alive. I don't have sons, only daughters, so don't know how to relate to a mother who would not only let but enable her son to join the military. In our home, if either of our daughters decided to go into the military I would go into complete and irreversible shock, I think. So from my experience, I can't help but feel angry with David's parents.

This story is compelling and I will be back to read more. It is written as though it is being spoken and I can hear it being told to me, rather than feeling like I'm reading it. It's absorbing and I have not found myself distracted in any way. This is a story that needs to be told and I feel privileged to be included among those who are reading it.

David, I'll be back, I wish you all the best. You said you're still working on chapters 16 and 17. I'm a slow reader, so I have plenty of time. You've only just come out of boot camp and had an awkwardly lit cigarette in front of your family.

Wishing you well,
Judy

Vtdeb wrote 1145 days ago

The Cover is a PERFECT fit for the story inside. Your writing draws the reader in as an observer and as a participant which encourages you to continue on to see what the next adventure is and the feelings related. So many of the feelings expressed are feelings anyone can relate to and others leave one wondering how you ever forged ahead. Your expression of feelings is also extremely brave. Not many people would admit to feeling them in the first place, let alone publish them in any public forum. I admire your service and your willingness to be vulnerable in a book that is written about such a difficult time in your life and our history, which is again where we find ourselves now. The way you have written your book is not the usual war related book, it covers so many facets; growing up, family and life in general. Your descriptions of how easily seemingly simple choices can impact one's entire life are so clear and would be difficult for anyone to challenge. I would hope it would make someone stop and think a bit before making similar choices. Reading, I can actually see your Mom asking you if you are sure, and feel the pain she must have felt when you answered. I am not finished reading and will make additional comments but just wanted to share with you the impact reading your book has had on me and encourage you to continue! This would be a good book for teens who may struggle with some of the same feelings you describe but would never share them. Thank You for Your service! Welcome Home!

vessels wrote 1163 days ago

Oh David, you write about something most of us will never experience and you do it so vividly. These chapters are gripping. One suggestion is to delete the exclamation marks -- they're distracting and the text reveals the tension, as well your emotions. Just use exclamation marks for things exclaimed - "Full Suppresion! Both sides!" etc. Also, I feel something similar about the italics used for emphasis and I'm guilty of the same thing in vessels. Your short pitch caught my attention. Your long pitch should be broken into a few smaller paras for easier reading and "countries" should be "country's". Great work! Backed!
Katherine of vessels

Cathy Hardy wrote 329 days ago

Hi David.

Good pitch and excellent prologue. Your story is cleverly crafted and pulls the reader in straight away. The opening scene was harrowing and described so well that I could see it in pictures. Then the time flip to the beginning was such an interesting contrast.. and again, very cinema-esque.

The battle of wills with the family was painted incredibly well and had me on the edge of my seat.

I kept thinking,'don't do it, you're too clever!' but you did which of course was the making of a wonderful story. Then we get more of the nitty-gritty, very action packed and I am a good way in now - time permitting, I will be back...again :)

Reading on...top stars! :)

karelkoninkrijk wrote 344 days ago

Great writing! I also like your attitude. Doesn´t matter if I make it to the top or not. I feel the same. Yet your story is worth being published. Read up to chapter 13. It's like a movie.
Karel AFRICAN DIARY

Cathy Hardy wrote 500 days ago

This is a very exciting, heartfelt story. High stars and good luck with it.

Cathy x

Seringapatam wrote 504 days ago

David,
Very gripping and compelling. I am ex military and so this is the book I look for. I know it is sad, I find it hard to read other genres.....
Well done mate. Its a winner.

Sean

Linda Horowitz wrote 689 days ago

...your writing is compelling David.
Sharp, riveting and drawing me in to your sensitive story... thanks for giving me the privilege to read it.

best wishes,
Linda Horowitz,
While the Sands Whisper

Six Foot Bonsai wrote 721 days ago

Hello David.

Thank you for everything you have done for US. I've often wondered what it's like for a boy be forced through a maturing process like war. I saw this book and the alluring cover on another person's list and I had to check it out. Since I work a crazy job that is taking too much of my time recently, I try to chose a couple chapters from the middle and one near the end when I look at books here.

I agree with some of the comments below regarding the voice of this story. It is not pretentious or over done. You write like you are telling family or friends. Your voice is a younger you - not that of an older, wiser man looking back and trying to tell the story.

I like it overall. I'd like to read more. There are a few tense issues that caught me off guard and made me stop and go back and some repetativeness in word choice - but nothing a little polishing would not fix.

Best of luck! You are appreciated. God bless you.

Stacy G.

Tarzan For Real wrote 732 days ago

David I'm not quite fifty but I took care of and drank with a lot of veterans when I was in and out of the service. I'm digging your attitude and your book. I'll keep reading and review after. Also while I didn't do much fighting in Persian Gulf I, I did stir up a rukus for two and half years all over West Africa. I don't know if I'll ever have the courage to put that to paper.--JL

Wanttobeawriter wrote 749 days ago

WHEN PRIDE WAS NOT AN OPTION
This is an interesting story. It opens with a look inside at what it feels like to be a soldier in the middle of a battle. Then goes back and describes what it was like to live in the 60s. The mark of this is your writing style. You write with a great deal of detail (which makes everything that is happening seem real) but you also know not to include so much detail you bog down your story. I’m sure you’ll find a wide audience for this among veterans who will like to be assured the horror of war they experienced wasn’t unique (it was happening to everyone). You’ll also find readers among soldiers’ families as it can help family members understand why a loved one came back from a war a different person than the one who left). Highly starred and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Margaret0307 wrote 751 days ago

Wow - what a wonderful book! The writing is straight from the heart - vivid and exhilerating. It took me into a world about which I know very little and I was drawn into the story right from the start. The way you think aloud in the story is brilliant and means the reader is right with you every step of the way. Feeling your uncertainty, your anguish, your fear - every raw emotion. It must have completely drained you to write in this way and I very much admire and respect you.

I read several chapters and a couple of small points in the early chapters caught my attention and may help. In the first chapter 'It's time I made a wave' I didn't quite understand the bit "No I wasn't" in the para which starts 'It sounded like he was going to go along with what wanted etc'. The 'No I wasn't' didn't seem to refer back to the previous para but it may have been just my misunderstanding.

The other point is the use of 'your' rather than 'you're' in several places e.g. 'So... your home early' and 'I guess your right'. But these are small things and I soon forgot them as I was drawn further and further into this excellent book.

Thank you so much for sharing this and I hope to continue reading when I have some more time! Highly rated and I hope to find some space on my shelf in the not too distant future!

Margaret Weston
How do I know I know God?

strachan gordon wrote 897 days ago

Hello , very exciting and above all conveying the stresses of combat , which are normally ignored or glossed over, it puts ones own petty fears in perspective , though of course they are real enough - the fear before making that important phone call! Before telling a girl how you really feel! Though ,of course, you don't wind up in hospital or the cemetery with those experiences. You really have an excellent, very trenchant style which is perfect for the subject you are describing. Watchlisted and starred.Definite publication potential.Would you have the time to look at the first chapter of my novel 'A Buccaneer' which is set amongst Pirates in the 17th century , with best wishes , Strachan Gordon

KGleeson wrote 919 days ago

Just finished the chapter, Bigger Steps and enjoyed it very much. You have a real knack of remembering well what it really is like as a teenager, the things you think about and want to do, the need to be treated like an adult and get in on the "men's talk." It comes across authentically and very ordinary which is an important image to create in this section here before you hit real combat. It's good to establish well who you were before the Vietnam experience and you do this well. Your honesty rings through and adds more to the narrative. The scene in the airport is well drawn and add a nice bit of shock value to the end of the chapter (jees I'm sure it's common but it's something that never crossed my mind).

The only bits of suggestion I might have are in the first section when you're on leave be careful with your tenses. You plunge into "I was home on leave" towards the beginning and there is no break in the page so it really plunges us in. Since you're sort of in present tense throughout you might want to insert spaces or asterisks to give the reader a pause to absorb the change. The tense there is okay but further down you write "part of me that started growing and hasn't stopped..." when you're writing about a desire for combat. With the tense structure you're inferring that you're still interested in combat or at least that part of you that started growing.." If you reword it to "hadn't" we get the sense that it grew back then only. They are only little nits though. Kristin


KGleeson wrote 928 days ago

I've read the next chapter, Next Steps and found that very engaging. You give us a real sense of what the initial training is like and how it set against your expectations. The first incident with your friend Bruce trying to score with a hooker was so classic it could be in a novel. You also gave a good accurate sense of who kept you company on the bus, the motely crew that arrived and needed to be shaped up into a unit. The drill seargents are classic and well characterized too. The polished narrative flows along well and you pause at just the right times to immerse us in key scenes that reveal your own development and thoughts and sense of disillusionment and reordering of your ideas.

There are just one or two elements I wondered about here. Though we all have our ideas of what a base looks like from films and what your barracks looked like you might give us more of a sense of it here. This would emphasize more what I suppose is the only area you saw in your 6 weeks there-- the barracks, the canteen, the grounds. The only other element I wondered is what happened to Bruce? Did you make other friends at all yet? I don't really get a sense except a hint that you didn't really when you talk about the brotherhood. (funny enough Bruce was my other brother's name, the one who went AWOL. He enlisted in late 68 I think, though he was in NJ and then later onto CA. Scored high on test. They wanted to make him an officer, he said no way. They had him as an mp for a while then assigned him to missile training--hated it. Drug dealers mostly and they got him on some hard stuff).

This is really very well polished and very engaging. Part of its strong appeal is that it's so very honest in its self appraisal. Kristin

KGleeson wrote 931 days ago

After reading the prologue and chapter 1 it is evident that this memoir is in the hands of a real storyteller. The prologue gives a real build up of tension and fear and draws the reader in with its compelling detail that makes the reader feel as if they were right there alongside of David. As we move into the first chapter we are thrown back into his home town where we see David in his family environment and school and observe the type of boy he was before his army experience. The time period is clearly laid out for the reader so we know how he viewed his world and what its particularly limitations were for that time. He was an ordinary kid in an ordinary town, something he conveys well with his desire to be one of the gang, to cruise around in a car and stare out the window in Latin class. But how ordinary is he really? To get up out of class and decide there was nothing more to learn shows us something different about David. To make the choice to enlist and to commit to it after finding out he'd gotten into a college at junior year (what about SATs- or was that what the test was). It is a crazy move but one the author helps us to understand -- the sense of distinction, the need to prove himself in that way and of course the army hard sell.

Your pace and style suit the memoir style story you're telling and create something that is very compelling. The only things you might consider is in the prologue, if you would explain what an L.Z. is the first time that would help us non soldiers. And in the first chapter you wrote "I think I'm wanna drop out." Both of which are just tweaks. The final thing I wondered was if you knew anything about Viet Nam at all. Were you aware of the conflict at that time? I know it was on the news then, but I can see that you might not have. Your parents, too. Didn't they mention it at all? I think you might want to address it one way or the other in the first chapter.

This is a story that reads really well and on that merit I will come back. But I also found it so interesting in comparing to my brother. You helped me understand a bit more why he gave up college (he was 17) and enlisted, making my parents sign the papers. Highly rated. Kristin

MrKarats wrote 936 days ago

David,

I read your prologue and the chapter after it.

I think that your prologue is an atmospheric one, but could use a bit of tidying up. You use a lot of fragments and short sentences in order to build tension, but its use was not careful and made it a touch heavier than it could be. It is a fine prologue however, one tat made me turn the page.

The chapter that followed was a long one, filled with straight-forward narration of events. I enjoyed the first part where you paint the scene with colors of times past. In very little room you made me feel as if in one of those movies in sepia colors, where gangs gathered and formed pirate stations and yelled out of convertibles. Your images at this point were easy to follow.

BUT you chose to carry on with this kind of narration all the way to the class - to the home -to the next scene etc... with minor exceptions of glimpses of dialogue...

I read on your profile what your point of view is about your work and the site in general. You might even find my thoughts here of little importance, but I will go ahead and share them with you. The only person that could keep reading after the middle of the first chapter, would be someone who knows you personally. Someone who can relate to the events of your life no matter what.

My suggestion is -and you can discard it without a second thought- since you are working hardon this novel, to make it a bit richer. To add a few up-close moments inbetween your narration (infodump is a better way to say this). Think about it. Wouldn't this be more interesting.

It is an interesting story, David. And I felt awkward not being able to concentrate to read more of it. You can make it shine, I'm sure, there were moments where I enjoyed, even laughed with your MC's thoughts.

5 stars from me for the interesting story and to encourage you to carry on with your hard work.

All the best.

Yannis
The Book of the Forsaken

JamesRevoir wrote 979 days ago

Hello David:

Different people write about war for a variety of reasons...more often than not because sex and violence sell, and war movies/books more than deliver.

I am speechless as I read this work...it is absolutely amazing beyond words. I can tell you how intensely gripping the book is from the very start, but I sense you wouldn't care. What makes makes this book so unique is the heart behind it: a heart which has gained a tremendous amount of wisdom through some very harsh experiences which most of us will never have to know. I believe that the trauma which you have experienced is not without redemption. You may be saving many lives unawares by virtue of imparting your hard-earned wisdom to those who might otherwise make the same mistakes as you did in your youth; i.e., being caught up in the "glory" of war.

I pray that you may continue to find healing and peace. A thankful (and unfortunately, even a thankless) nation owes more to you and to your fellow soldiers than they will ever know.

Blessings to you and thanks for so transparently giving of yourself to write this book.

James Revoir

S.V.L wrote 988 days ago

OMG! I'm a teenager in vasity. I don't know what I'd have done if I were thrust into such a situation.
Brilliant story telling. Can't wait to read more.

S.V.L wrote 988 days ago

OMG! I'm a teenager in vasity. I don't know what I'd have done if I were thrust into such a situation.
Brilliant story telling. Can't wait to read the rest.

zap wrote 1116 days ago

hi David,
your story is gripping and emotional, not only for the fact that a young man joins the army, but for the inner struggle and conflict this man has to endure to flee the confinement of a world which is too small for him.

I found the reasoning and deliberations very interesting, almost like analysing the signposts of existentialism. A young man's development into an adult, who will be fully aware of the grit and heartache this entails, seems to be the real story here. The inner dilemmas are well observed and the physiology of choice is superbly dealt with. Backed.

J.Adams wrote 1116 days ago

The way this book is written is like I'm sitting at David's kitchen table, coffee in hand, listening to him talk about how his life went into this completely unplanned direction that took him on a profound and profoundly unexpected, never-dreamed of journey. His understanding of who he was as a teen - over forty years ago - is recalled as though it was yesterday when he half, or more than half hoped his parents would reach out and reel him back in before he had signed his fate away to the military. His disillusionment with the treatment in boot camp is strangely juxtaposed against his pride in having accomplished both getting through basic training and his learning to start reading people and situations - something kids don't often do, but adults must learn to do.

I can't help but feel angry with his parents for not protecting him, but I don't know what it would be like to have a father who served in the military (my father had scoliosis and was denied), I don't come from a family that takes pride in military service or accomplishments - although my sister's father-in-law recalls his time in the military, during WWII as the most rewarding time of his life, the time he was most alive. I don't have sons, only daughters, so don't know how to relate to a mother who would not only let but enable her son to join the military. In our home, if either of our daughters decided to go into the military I would go into complete and irreversible shock, I think. So from my experience, I can't help but feel angry with David's parents.

This story is compelling and I will be back to read more. It is written as though it is being spoken and I can hear it being told to me, rather than feeling like I'm reading it. It's absorbing and I have not found myself distracted in any way. This is a story that needs to be told and I feel privileged to be included among those who are reading it.

David, I'll be back, I wish you all the best. You said you're still working on chapters 16 and 17. I'm a slow reader, so I have plenty of time. You've only just come out of boot camp and had an awkwardly lit cigarette in front of your family.

Wishing you well,
Judy

jllove wrote 1119 days ago

Cover is an eyecatcher! To think one should be in Latin class instead of a war zone really brings home the contrast and innocence. Chapter 1 gives a great sense of David, his upbringing, values and person. The talk and unexpected 50 a nice touch.nThats as far as I read but I hope I am right that this is a coming of age, survivalist experience. Will definetely read more. 6 starred and added to watchlist, waiting room on shelf.

jllove wrote 1119 days ago

Cover is an eyecatcher! To think one should be in Latin class instead of a war zone really brings home the contrast and innocence. Chapter 1 gives a great sense of David, his upbringing, values and person. The talk and unexpected 50 a nice touch.nThats as far as I read but I hope I am right that this is a coming of age, survivalist experience. Will definetely read more. 6 starred and added to watchlist, waiting room on shelf.

gpview wrote 1122 days ago

Dave: You are now backed on my book shelf. Thanks for backing the Dust and the Glory.

Earl Cripe

Ruth Hannah wrote 1127 days ago

When Pride is not an option.

This is a story that will touch a lot of people.
A young man who really just wants to leave school, is given the option, join the services or stay at school.
But in calling his parents bluff he joins the army.
The author tells his story wonderfully, it is easy to read and leaves the reader wanting to read more.
Added to my WL I will return to read more.
Star rated
Ruth
A New Day

scargirl wrote 1130 days ago

really compelling long pitch. it feels like it is going to be an emotional ride after that build up. you could break up your long pitch into paragraphs, too, for an easier read.
j
what every woman should know

markwoodburn wrote 1130 days ago

I read the first chapter. You have an authentic voice. Your story needs told and you do it well. Starred, regards, Mark

Charles Thompson wrote 1131 days ago

I find your subject matter fascinating and the opening lines of the prologue were compelling, but I lost interest fairly quickly. For me, it was a matter of style.

As a general proposition, the prologue is not punctuated well (see, e.g., the first three sentences of the second paragraph). Perhaps the unconventional grammar/punctuation is a part of your voice, but I found it off-putting (though I appreciated the action and sentiment conveyed in that second paragraph).

The third paragraph is just too vague. It uses a lot of words to say that "last time" was bad and no one knew what to expect. That idea is easily conveyed, however, in one sentence.

Also, I think you should use exclamation marks a bit more sparingly. Likewise, avoid expressions like "the fact that" (especially twice in the same sentence), for it adds nothing. Indeed, there are many wasted words, cliches, etc. in the prologue that pull the reader out of an otherwise dramatic scene. Likewise, you use too many phrases in each sentence and use too many commas, which stilts the flow. Moreover, it's the idea of repeating the same ideas/thoughts over and over again. Find the best way to express that it was scary and chaotic, yet you found you could act despite the fear/chaos and say it just once. Otherwise, you convey two things to the reader: 1) you don't use words judiciously and 2) either you don't have confidence in yourself to express a given idea OR you don't have confidence in your reader to understand what you're saying. Believe in both yourself and your reader.

Notwithstanding, this is just one reader's opinion and I wish you nothing but the best with this project.

Rhonda9080 wrote 1136 days ago

Love your prologue and first chapters! I felt your uncertainty and fear. Reminds me of the stories my grandpa told me about WWII when he was a grunt under Patton (under the influence of Southern Comfort...). You told us in a voice that didn't seem to be an old guy looking back, but we were with that young man and saw and felt what he did. He read like the frightened, confused kid he was! Having been a journalist and dealt over the years with many Vietnam vets' stories (always include a few for Veteran's Day); your story rings with truth about how it was and what it felt like from the ground. I recently felt moved-to-tears at local parade where the 'Nam vets marched and people stood to their feet and gave standing ovations. Your writing is very succinct and poignant. The Prologue on the helicopter drew me right in. I particularly liked your description of the South Vietnamese soldiers - supposed comrades-in-arms, and how the enemy seemed to always see you, but you couldn't see them.
***I obviously haven't read all the way to the end, but presume you have an epilogue? One thing no one ever brings out is that over 1 million people remain in concentration camps in Vietnam to this day. I also did a several stories of the Vietnamese "boat people", who were civilians that escaped certain death from the Viet Cong after the Americans pulled out, leaving them behind to face the wrath of their northern countrymen. It could be of interest (and in the interest of fairness) to mention a few post-war statistics for Vietnam. Here's a helpful site on the stats: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP6.HTM
Approx 3.6 million civilians killed, up to 1.6 million after the war...
For a lot of people, the aftermath of that war for the Vietnamese civilians has been non-existent- all sides had their agenda, and now, out-of sight, out-of mind. Most continue to cling to whatever position they held at the time, without thoughtful review of the results. That said - overall, this is much, much more powerfully written as a personal story from one guy's unique perspective. Often, its this type of personal experience packs a far more powerful punch to future generations than a dry, boring historical presentation. You made it all so real! And - prompted to me (the reader) to think about and write all this! This is the job of the writer! GOOD WORK! My son could sure use this book on his shelf teaching high school history classes!
I've watchlisted and plan to shelf this in my next rotation! Highest stars!

stillshakydave wrote 1145 days ago

Thank you so much! It is becoming more diffulcult to finish the final edit of the writing as I am going over and over those times that I never had the strength to tell anyone before this. Your encouragement makes it a little easier. To you especially, and all who cared and still do....You are so welcome! David

Vtdeb wrote 1145 days ago

The Cover is a PERFECT fit for the story inside. Your writing draws the reader in as an observer and as a participant which encourages you to continue on to see what the next adventure is and the feelings related. So many of the feelings expressed are feelings anyone can relate to and others leave one wondering how you ever forged ahead. Your expression of feelings is also extremely brave. Not many people would admit to feeling them in the first place, let alone publish them in any public forum. I admire your service and your willingness to be vulnerable in a book that is written about such a difficult time in your life and our history, which is again where we find ourselves now. The way you have written your book is not the usual war related book, it covers so many facets; growing up, family and life in general. Your descriptions of how easily seemingly simple choices can impact one's entire life are so clear and would be difficult for anyone to challenge. I would hope it would make someone stop and think a bit before making similar choices. Reading, I can actually see your Mom asking you if you are sure, and feel the pain she must have felt when you answered. I am not finished reading and will make additional comments but just wanted to share with you the impact reading your book has had on me and encourage you to continue! This would be a good book for teens who may struggle with some of the same feelings you describe but would never share them. Thank You for Your service! Welcome Home!

stillshakydave wrote 1149 days ago

Read the prologue. I remember the same feelings and asking myself the same questions. Very descriptive, very real (to me). If you want to make it much more powerful, go through and take out all the passive verbs and rewrite in active voice. Example: You said, "One hand was gripped tight on the trigger." You could say... One hand gripped the trigger; knuckles white in anticipation. Doesn't change the story, but the active voice brings you in even more. You have several instances of passive voice; just think about my suggestion. It will help you show the reader what's going on, not just tell him about it.

Bob, First of I hope your fishing trip was all that! Thanks for the suggestions. Your so right. I am working on it as we speak. The more I edit, the more I realize that I am better at being real than I am proper writing. After all I only had a ninth grade education :-) Thanks so much for taking the time to read some and I hope you will find it interesting enough to read it to the end. David

Old Bob wrote 1149 days ago

Read the prologue. I remember the same feelings and asking myself the same questions. Very descriptive, very real (to me). If you want to make it much more powerful, go through and take out all the passive verbs and rewrite in active voice. Example: You said, "One hand was gripped tight on the trigger." You could say... One hand gripped the trigger; knuckles white in anticipation. Doesn't change the story, but the active voice brings you in even more. You have several instances of passive voice; just think about my suggestion. It will help you show the reader what's going on, not just tell him about it.

Good start though. I'll catch more later.

Old Bob
A PLACE IN LIFE

stillshakydave wrote 1150 days ago

The entire book is there. The chapters after number 11 still have many I's and italics and other editing errors. Please excuse them. I am editing them and replacing each chapter as it is finished. I sincerely hope you enjoy it! David

stillshakydave wrote 1150 days ago

I'm having trouble with error messages when I try to upload, but will get them up as fast as they allow me to.

stillshakydave wrote 1150 days ago

The chapters after number 11 have not been edited. I have had several requests to put it up anyway.I quickly went through it and removed a few swear words in the original. There will be none in the final work. I might have missed a few but they are not real bad words. I am editing each chapter and updating it as fast as I can. I thank you all for your patience and understanding and hope you enjoy my work!

stillshakydave wrote 1150 days ago

I have had several E-Mails requesting that I put the entire book up and edit it later, and put up the revised edition as I complete each chapter. I will do that tonight! Thank you all so very much for your encouragement and kind comments! David

mvo wrote 1153 days ago

I finished reading chapter 9 last nite, but it was late and I had to sign up to comment. So here it goes,
******** This is a really Great book! Seriously! I have been drawn into the author's life and struggle from page one! It is one of those stories that you want to keep reading to find out what will happen next! I grew up in the Vietnam War Era, and I think that this book is very pertinent to my generation. I was young and carefree at the time, and didn't know anything about what was really going on "Over there". I did not have any brothers and the thought of real people actually volunteering to go fight for our Country wasn't something I paid much attention to. All I knew was that this was not a popular war and a lot of innocent Soldiers were killed. I was trying to get my education and start my Adult life and gain my independence. Then I met my current husband, he was still in the Army, he had to enlist due to the fact his draft number was numer 3. He was still stationed in Fort Hamilton when I met him, and he was looking down the road at the end of his enlistment. He told me very little of what he had been through, but he had not been directly in the combat zone. He had top secret clearance and didn't divulge any information to me.I do know it has affected his life in many ways....

This book is very timely, it lets those of us who sat back and didn't involve ourselves in the goings on of the country at the time, sit up and listen to reality. As a mother, I can totally relate to thisbook. I have a son who wanted to enlist in the Air Force, before our country was involved in the current War. He has now thanked me for encouraging him to think twice, and is now married. I could not image parting with my son knowing I may never see him again. I told him whatever he did with his life, it was valued and he didn't need to trade the possibility of death, for a funded College Education. I'd rather he worked mopping floors and was alive, than take the risk! He is now College Educated, and in a field he loves!

In conclusion, I am really enjoying this book, getting a new education and confirming that for once, (I hope), I steered my son in the right direction. The Author is certainly one of the brave few that could endure the stress and change he had to go through to find his place in the world! I applaud him!
Great Book!!

stillshakydave wrote 1155 days ago

Chapter nine is coming soon. They are one chapter behind because of the prologue. I am receiving many kind comments and I appreciate them very much. I am finishing them as fast as I can wiithout sacrificing editing mistakes. Thanks for your patience! David

stillshakydave wrote 1157 days ago

First off, your cover and title pulled me right in! Then I started reading the story and I fell right into your theme. I grew up in the sixties and found it so easy to relate to your first chapter. The music, Latin class, street lights meant time for home, etc. so many great lines. I am shelving this for talented writing and a riveting story. Ill be back for more and further comment. The only editing issues I noticed were that many of your paragraghs begin with "I" or "They" so maybe you can mix that up a bit - easy to fix. Otherwise, thanks for a great entertaining piece of literature. This will do well here.

Skater



Thank you so much for the kind comments! I agree with your suggestions completely! That is exactly what I am working on. The book is finished, this is my final editing. There will be less as I continue. Thank you for being honest with me. I need that. it also made your praise for the book that much more. It makes me feel that I am accomplishing what I am trying to to, and a reason to continue! I look forward to any other comments you may have! Sincerly! David

skaterwriter wrote 1158 days ago

First off, your cover and title pulled me right in! Then I started reading the story and I fell right into your theme. I grew up in the sixties and found it so easy to relate to your first chapter. The music, Latin class, street lights meant time for home, etc. so many great lines. I am shelving this for talented writing and a riveting story. Ill be back for more and further comment. The only editing issues I noticed were that many of your paragraghs begin with "I" or "They" so maybe you can mix that up a bit - easy to fix. Otherwise, thanks for a great entertaining piece of literature. This will do well here.

Skater

stillshakydave wrote 1163 days ago

Oh David, you write about something most of us will never experience and you do it so vividly. These chapters are gripping. One suggestion is to delete the exclamation marks -- they're distracting and the text reveals the tension, as well your emotions. Just use exclamation marks for things exclaimed - "Full Suppresion! Both sides!" etc. Also, I feel something similar about the italics used for emphasis and I'm guilty of the same thing in vessels. Your short pitch caught my attention. Your long pitch should be broken into a few smaller paras for easier reading and "countries" should be "country's". Great work! Backed!
Katherine of vessels

Katherine, Thannk you so much for your kind comments I will take them very seriously. They do make sense! I have uploaded chapter one. Please send me the information on how to get to your book as I am brand new to all this and still have trouble navagating my way around. Thanks again MUCH appreciated! David

vessels wrote 1163 days ago

Oh David, you write about something most of us will never experience and you do it so vividly. These chapters are gripping. One suggestion is to delete the exclamation marks -- they're distracting and the text reveals the tension, as well your emotions. Just use exclamation marks for things exclaimed - "Full Suppresion! Both sides!" etc. Also, I feel something similar about the italics used for emphasis and I'm guilty of the same thing in vessels. Your short pitch caught my attention. Your long pitch should be broken into a few smaller paras for easier reading and "countries" should be "country's". Great work! Backed!
Katherine of vessels

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