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

Women’s basketball opens season with victory over UC Riverside

first_imgJunior guard Minyon Moore dribbles in an offensive attack in the Trojans 2018 home opener against UC Riverside. Moore scored 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half, to aid in USC’s 73-55 win. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)An aggressive third quarter spearheaded by junior point guard Minyon Moore helped the Women of Troy defend home court in a season-opening 73-55 victory Tuesday.A 13-0 run from UC Riverside before halftime led to a 30-30 tie at the half. The Trojans came out of halftime with an attack mindset as they switched to a 1-2-2 full court press and focused more on speeding up the game. USC managed to outscore UC Riverside 27-12 in a third quarter that came to define the game; not even a 2-3 zone could contain the flow the Trojans managed to play with in the second half. Head coach Mark Trakh credited the game’s momentum swing to the Moore sisters, junior guard Minyon and senior guard Mariya.“[Minyon] knew, ‘[I’ve] got to turn it up and everybody will turn it up with me,’” Trakh said. “Mariya came out and hit a couple of 3-pointers … and that was the difference.”Minyon Moore scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and served as a constant spark on both sides of the ball as she screamed out instructions on defense and looked to push the pace after each of her 12 rebounds. The 2017-18 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team member kicked off the season with a near triple-double, as she posted a stat line of 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Despite accompanying a near triple-double effort with a block and three steals, Minyon Moore still believed there was room for improvement. “I had a couple of stupid errors that I usually don’t have,” Minyon Moore said. “On defense, it’s a new group so sometimes I tried to help too much.”One of the key additions in that new group is her older sister Mariya, who transferred from the University of Louisville. After sitting all of last season due to transfer eligibility guidelines, Mariya Moore knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 11 points and five assists in her USC debut. “I was just trying to get back into the flow of things,” Mariya Moore said. “It felt good to be back.”Trakh had a similar reaction to the team’s performance.“To start how we started and win by 18 points,” Trakh said. “I think we’ve got a lot of potential on the team.”However, the Trojans start to the season was far from pretty, as they posted nine turnovers in the first half alone. Turnovers paired with anxious play on the defensive end led to a sloppy first 20 minutes of basketball.At one point in the second quarter, USC mishaps helped UC Riverside go on a 13-0 run and take its only lead of the night. However, the constant efforts of the Moore sisters accompanied by solid interior performances from junior forwards Kayla Overbeck and Ja’Tavia Tapley helped keep USC from falling in the team’s season opener to an overmatched UC Riverside team.Trakh and the Women of Troy suited up Tuesday without senior point guard Aliyah Mazyck. Defensive miscommunications and errant offensive passes were prominent in the senior floor general’s absence. Mazyck was a 2017-18 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year finalist and is expected to bring that same level of production along with her savvy veteran point guard presence when she returns.“I was happy with the win,” Trakh said. “We won that game tonight without Aliyah and Aliyah’s one of the top players in the Pac-12.”Next, Trojans will head south to face Long Beach State University Sunday at 2 p.m.last_img read more

Stephen Curry’s moon theory leaves NASA baffled

first_img“Sorry, I don’t want to start conspiracies,” he added.Curry’s remarks drew a bemused response from a NASA spokesman, who invited the two-time NBA MVP to a tour of the agency’s facilities.“We’d love for Mr Curry to tour the lunar lab at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, perhaps the next time the Warriors are in town to play the Rockets,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel told The New York Times.“We have hundreds of pounds of moon rocks stored there, and the Apollo mission control. During his visit, he can see firsthand what we did 50 years ago, as well as what we’re doing now to go back to the moon in the coming years, but this time to stay.”Retired US astronaut Scott Kelly, a veteran of four space flights and former commander of the International Space Station, meanwhile weighed in on Twitter.ADVERTISEMENT After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum “Steph, so much respect for you, but re the moon landing thing, let’s talk,” Kelly wrote. “DM me.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award FILE – Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors plays against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFPGolden State Warriors ace Stephen Curry is no stranger to the occasional moon shot.But the NBA star’s suggestion that the lunar landings may have been an elaborate hoax has left NASA puzzled.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Curry raised eyebrows on Monday when he became the latest basketball player to advance a conspiracy theory, echoing Kyrie Irving’s assertion in 2017 that the Earth was flat.Speaking on “The Winging It” podcast, Curry said he had doubts about whether NASA had actually put a man on the Moon in 1969.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“We ever been to the moon?” Curry asked on the podcast, before several fellow guests replied: “Nope.”“They’re going to come get us,” Curry added after advancing the theory. No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Sparring partner confident Manny Pacquiao can KO Adrian Broner Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anewlast_img read more