I wish I had the courage to ask my dad about Vietnam

first_imgI’d never seen him do that before. He stood stock-still, as though he were defending something.Dad has never broadcast his military service, but around that time he confessed – in a long conversation on Interstate 20 toward New Orleans – that he felt people like him were “under-appreciated,” that they were being “pushed out,” their service to the nation taken for granted.We were on the way to meet up with my brother for a father-son fishing trip. Dad was driving a black Hyundai with peach-colored Georgia plates mounted in a frame that read “Vietnam Veteran.” That was new. My dad has never asked to be thought of as a hero, but somewhere in that burgeoning period of conspicuous militarism, he found the room to do something he’d never done before: publicly identify himself as a veteran, and bear on his license plate and on his person the sometimes wordless emblems of military service.When I was a boy, Dad’s Army service uniform hung in a closet in my brother’s room, along with his combat boots and black felt cavalry hat with the captain’s bars pinned on the front. Categories: Editorial, OpinionWhen I attended my first college football game in Athens, Georgia, in 1981, it was a relatively spartan affair by today’s standards.As I remember it, there were few or none of the militaristic flourishes that accompany sporting events nowadays.We sang the national anthem to ordinary fanfare, palm to left breast, but there were no F-15 flyovers, no surprise halftime reunions between returning soldiers and their gobsmacked children, no public-service announcements reminding us to support our troops. A few years ago, I returned to Athens with two of my boys and my father.When the national anthem began playing over the PA, my father turned toward the gigantic high-definition flag on the enormous new video display and stood at full attention, his right hand up to his eyebrow, saluting in the way he’d been taught. I never touched the dress uniform, but I used the hat for dress-up and possibly for one of the “Son of Rambo” home videos my brother and I shot on the VHS handheld.Dad seemed indifferent to the existence of the mementos of his Army service.If he wasn’t, he never said anything.But we didn’t bother to find out, either, because the subject of Vietnam was a no-fly zone.Dad simply didn’t talk about it, and he must have had his reasons. My father volunteered for a controversial war; he served a one-year tour because he chose to.Whenever I meet an Army solider or veteran, I tell them that my dad was a Huey helicopter pilot in the 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. I watch as their jaws slacken and their eyebrows pinch slightly. They often say the same thing. “Whoa.” I had heard from my brother rumors that Dad had walked out of “Apocalypse Now,” but I have never heard why or if it’s even true.Maybe he saw in Robert Duvall’s character – like my father, an officer in the First Cav, in the same felt hat that sat in my brother’s closet – too much of himself, or too little.We saw “Platoon” together when it played in Atlanta, but we didn’t talk about it after it was over. Once, at a dinner with my wife, my parents, and my brother and sister-in-law, Dad volunteered a story about a training flight on a Huey while he was an instructor at flight school at Fort Rucker in Alabama.The engine blew a hole in the side of the combustion chamber, and Dad managed to land the Huey in a peanut field.While I don’t recall the details with the precision I wish I did, I remember it for one reason: My brother gently hushed the conversation at our end of the table. Dad was telling a story from his Army days, and that never happened.Dad volunteered for Vietnam, but he has never once volunteered to talk about it. The Fort Rucker story is as close as I think I’ve ever come to hearing one. The whole experience is like a blacked-out, redacted portion of my father’s personal history as it has been handed down to us.My father didn’t take a single hit during his year in Vietnam, but on either side are tales of wreckage: the damaged Huey in Alabama, and the story about how his helicopter, piloted by someone else, was shot down while Dad was on  R&R not long before he returned to the United States to marry Mom. When Mom texted me a couple of months ago to tell me about the new Ken Burns documentary on the Vietnam War, I was attempting, unsuccessfully, to put one of my children to sleep. “It’s on now,” she said. Watching it then was out of the question, a casualty of multiple-child-induced bedtime fatigue. “Worth a watch,” she followed up. “Makes you realize what your Dad went through.”I told her that I would watch it as soon as I had the chance. But what I meant was, I wish he would tell me about it himself.And when the boys were finally asleep, the dust of my mind blown away like the circle of ground beneath a landing Huey, I realized what I actually meant but did not have the guts to say: I wish I had the courage to ask. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census It makes me proud that my dad is considered a badass by active-duty soldiers who have seen hells of their own – maybe even a slightly crazy kind of badass, who put his life in the line of fire flying into hot zones in Southeast Asia.It’s a vicarious pride, and I take it with some measure of guilt:It’s not my own, and at 46 I know that I will never have to fight in a war the way my dad chose to do.Maybe I tell that to soldiers to establish a tenuous connection with people who have given their lives over to demands that will never be made of me.Maybe I tell it to make myself seem more courageous than I really am, as if somehow some of my father’s courage passed down to me.But at times I feel as if I have as much business telling that story as I did putting on Dad’s flight jacket for a home movie, bearing the accoutrements of courage and military service that I did not earn.It may also be an attempt to solicit from strangers some iota of information on a subject about which my father has chosen to remain mostly silent.last_img read more

Work and Play Gears-up for Ondo Car Rally Nov 16

first_imgThe organisers of Work and Play Car race series have announced that the second edition of the Ondo Rally has been slated for November 16th and 17th, 2018 with the starting point being Smokin Hills Golf Course in Ilara- Mokin in Ondo State. The facilitator of the event, Ade Ojuoko, said at the weekend that this year’s edition would be a major improvement on last year’s.“We already have huge interest shown toward this event from the motorsport community in Nigeria, which for us is a sign for endorsement. We have also secured the support of the state government just like last year and the those of relevant bodies that would make the event a success.”Last year’s winner “Stingray” would be the major attraction this year along with other racing teams in Nigeria who have entered their top drivers for the event.Ojuoko also said that Work and Play’s race-car named ‘Tiger’ would be returning to this year’s edition with two other versions.“Apart from first time racing teams who have shown interest to be part of the event, our race car, “Tiger” would be racing with two other newer versions,” he added.Ojuoko also said that the global regulating body for the sport FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) would be represented at the event along with the officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps.The event this year would on the opening day be hosting all the participants and tourists to drifting challenge. There would also be sight-seeing visits to some of the major tourism attractions in the state including the popular Idanre Hills.“The show begins with a long convoy drive from Lagos through Ogun, Oyo and Osun states before the finally arriving at the venue of the first session of the races.”The participants and visitors would be received by the state officials. The event would be engaging over 100 volunteers for the race from the state apart from key personnel in the Central Working Committee.He added that the race’s goal is to spike local tourism and showcase each race destination to the audience of motorsports among other things. It is striking to note that the Ondo Car Rally officially signals the start of Nigeria Travel Week, a series of annual events in November designed to promote domestic and inbound tourism in Nigeria.The competition is in three categories, Off-Road, Road and Bike Race.  The Off-Road race would flag off the event where Sports Utility Vehicles have been penciled to race. The race is to be flagged off in Ilara-Mokin by the Founder of Elizade and Chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade. Ojo.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Scout Gaming to provide fantasy sports through UK licence

first_img Share Gambling.com maintains momentum against COVID-19 impacts August 19, 2020 12 operators holding existing agreements with Scout Gaming can now introduce its DFS services in the UK market after the company secured a licence to provide its fantasy sports solution.The Group’s CEO Andreas Ternström said that it had refused to shy away from the “toughening regulatory environment trend” by securing the B2B licence from the UK Gambling Commission.It is an extension to Scout’s B2C licence, which enables them to offer its products services to external brands operating in the UK market.Ternström commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded a B2B licence from the UKGC, allowing us to address yet another regulated market with great potential.“Scout is a recognized leader in B2B solutions for fantasy sports and pool betting. To date we have signed 12 licence agreements with operators, several of which have existing operations in the UK, where they now can introduce our services.”He added: “With a toughening regulatory environment trend ongoing, not only in the UK, operators need to look for new ways of acquiring players and broaden their target group.“We build games that speak to a different kind of audience, one that is generally more well educated and with higher levels of income. The skill aspect also attracts the younger generation who has grown up playing skill based games on their game consoles, computers and hand held devices.“The rare combination of skill game and gambling, mixed with high level of excitement makes our games particularly appealing to the savvy punters.”Scout Gaming Group has also shown its hand in the US by partnering with Metric Gaming to develop new products, although the future of DFS across the pond has been clouded somewhat by a judge in Albany ruling that it is a form of gambling and should be considered illegal in New York. Submit StumbleUpon Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 Related Articles Successful summer leaves Leadstar positive over industry’s recovery August 18, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

Let Californians have a say on Iraq war

first_img(But) Is there any bigger challenge for the country than the Iraq war? And shouldn’t Californians have an opportunity to speak out in a democratic way? Schwarzenegger hasn’t indicated whether he’ll sign or veto SB 924, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata of Oakland. ? Political insiders think he’ll wait until the last minute to announce his decision. When he does, he should be bold and put the war in Iraq on the ballot. – San Jose Mercury News 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! California is paying a high price for the Iraq war. No single fact is more persuasive than this: Of the 3,752 U.S. soldiers killed there, 401 – more than 10 percent – have been Californians. All states and U.S. territories have lost sons and daughters in the controversial war, and based on population, our sacrifice is not disproportionate. But it is significant. And that gives Californians both the right and the responsibility to take a stand. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can help them exercise that right. He should agree with the Legislature and allow an advisory measure about the war to appear on the February ballot. ? Normally, we don’t support the use of the ballot in this way. States don’t make foreign policy. ? last_img read more