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Into the Valley of Death

Posted by John h on 9/14/01 at 13:25 (060333)

What a diverse group of people we have here. Doctors,Moms,Dads,Engineers,Philosophers,Business people, Military People,Teachers,Writers, and on and on. I do not know that a more diverse group of opinions from such well informed and caring people could be out there. I know i have disagreement with some of you but am not angry with any of you (Anon excepted). You are my extended family and I care for you all and wish you all the best. Obviously my strong views have been honed by my military career and having lived during WWII,Korea, and Vietnam. I recognize they are not necessarily correct but this is me and what i am. I am an old fashioned in that I truly believe in God,Country,Family, Honor and Duty. Those are not just empty words to me. I live by them. There are still many like me but i think we may be a dying group. I am ready to Pick Up The Sword when needed. I believe that a lasting Peace can only come through strength of steel,morality, and character. Tennyson's words still haunt me:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a length onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
'Charge for the guns!' he said
Rode the six hundred.

I wonder if we still have the six hundred who will ride into the valley of death.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Suzanne D on 9/14/01 at 13:41 (060335)

John, last night I read what you had posted and was touched by the haunting stories from your tour in Vietnam. Then after school today, I read this. I just want you to know that although you are a 'stranger' to me, today when my entire school went out and formed a circle around the flagpole at noon and had prayer followed by singing of some patriotic songs and the pledge to the flag, I thought of you.

I grew up watching the Vietnam War on t.v. as we ate supper. My daddy's view was that if the brave men could go and fight, we should show respect and watch the news of the war each night. We could only speak during commercials. I developed a respect for our country and the military personnel who gave of their lives to guard our freedom.

I was not able to personally thank many of these unsung heroes. Today I have thanked one. Peace to you.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/14/01 at 15:33 (060345)

John:

I think we still have 600 who will ride into the valley of death. There have been articles in the newspapers talking about the sudden increase in military recruits.

There are lots of good patriotic people out there. They are people who lead hard working, quiet lives, raising their families. They are the people that the media ignores. They are the people that Hollywood scorns. They are probably members of what President Nixon called the 'silent majority.' They are the people who really count in times of need to step up to the plate, defend our country.
They are the people who make our country great.
Ed

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Mary De on 9/14/01 at 16:18 (060351)

John,

I too have the greatest respect for your service and ideals. Please know that I, and so many more like me, also have serious ideals not unlike yours. I too strive to live by them, which is why I've spent the last couple days abandoning my own work and instead speaking up for peace every where I can.

The Charge of the Light Brigade may have made a stirring poem, but it was 600 totally wasted lives. As I recall, the poem was based on a true incident in the Crimean War where a mistaken order was followed without question and the men rode to slaughter. Was this heroism or honor, these lives exchanged for nothing? Was it in service of anything at all? Did it even help the British war effort? Was it worth it?

I truly apologize if this insults your ideals, much less your taste in poetry. But think about it. This sort of blind 'honor' is, in my opinion, akin to the fanaticism of certain militant Muslims.

You ask how many these days would be willing to die that like. I ask the same question. I hope and pray that the answer will be 'none.'

with respect, Mary

Re: Into the Valley of Death

john h on 9/14/01 at 16:56 (060357)

thank you for your kind words mard de. you need to get byond the metaphors however.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

john h on 9/14/01 at 17:08 (060360)

mary d: yes the tennyson poem is based on fact but there is a moral to this story. because you fail in your attempt and die does not mean the lives were wasted. We have had planes shot down in Vietnam where there was one surviving pilot on the ground. I have seen us send in 7 straight aircraft to be shot down in attempt to save one pilot. Was that senseless? It may be in your eyes but we as crewmembers knew that if we went down there would be no cost to high for our buddies to come get us. We have footage of rescue helicopters hoovering over downed crew members being blown out of the skiy when the odds of making a recovery were near zero. Because the 600 did not get through and achieve victory is not the point Mary D. There was an unwritten code among us that we would do whatever it took to save one of our own and their was no cost to high. Pilots would line up to be the next one in on these attempts. You miss the point Mary D.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Beverly on 9/15/01 at 12:46 (060462)

John,

I suspect that we will have voluntary enlistments on a scale not seen since WWII. I too was just a little kid watching Vietnam on TV. It felt very far away. But this is happening right here to us, and because of that, I think we are going to have young people signing up right and left. The only good thing that might come out of all this loss is that our military forces will no longer be a scaled down presence.
I come from a standpoint that until last week, I was very in favor of decreased defense spending. This past week has completely changed my attitude.

Thank you for serving in Vietnam. I realize you guys did not come home to bands and fanfare like the WWII vets did.
Beverly

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Suzanne D on 9/14/01 at 13:41 (060335)

John, last night I read what you had posted and was touched by the haunting stories from your tour in Vietnam. Then after school today, I read this. I just want you to know that although you are a 'stranger' to me, today when my entire school went out and formed a circle around the flagpole at noon and had prayer followed by singing of some patriotic songs and the pledge to the flag, I thought of you.

I grew up watching the Vietnam War on t.v. as we ate supper. My daddy's view was that if the brave men could go and fight, we should show respect and watch the news of the war each night. We could only speak during commercials. I developed a respect for our country and the military personnel who gave of their lives to guard our freedom.

I was not able to personally thank many of these unsung heroes. Today I have thanked one. Peace to you.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/14/01 at 15:33 (060345)

John:

I think we still have 600 who will ride into the valley of death. There have been articles in the newspapers talking about the sudden increase in military recruits.

There are lots of good patriotic people out there. They are people who lead hard working, quiet lives, raising their families. They are the people that the media ignores. They are the people that Hollywood scorns. They are probably members of what President Nixon called the 'silent majority.' They are the people who really count in times of need to step up to the plate, defend our country.
They are the people who make our country great.
Ed

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Mary De on 9/14/01 at 16:18 (060351)

John,

I too have the greatest respect for your service and ideals. Please know that I, and so many more like me, also have serious ideals not unlike yours. I too strive to live by them, which is why I've spent the last couple days abandoning my own work and instead speaking up for peace every where I can.

The Charge of the Light Brigade may have made a stirring poem, but it was 600 totally wasted lives. As I recall, the poem was based on a true incident in the Crimean War where a mistaken order was followed without question and the men rode to slaughter. Was this heroism or honor, these lives exchanged for nothing? Was it in service of anything at all? Did it even help the British war effort? Was it worth it?

I truly apologize if this insults your ideals, much less your taste in poetry. But think about it. This sort of blind 'honor' is, in my opinion, akin to the fanaticism of certain militant Muslims.

You ask how many these days would be willing to die that like. I ask the same question. I hope and pray that the answer will be 'none.'

with respect, Mary

Re: Into the Valley of Death

john h on 9/14/01 at 16:56 (060357)

thank you for your kind words mard de. you need to get byond the metaphors however.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

john h on 9/14/01 at 17:08 (060360)

mary d: yes the tennyson poem is based on fact but there is a moral to this story. because you fail in your attempt and die does not mean the lives were wasted. We have had planes shot down in Vietnam where there was one surviving pilot on the ground. I have seen us send in 7 straight aircraft to be shot down in attempt to save one pilot. Was that senseless? It may be in your eyes but we as crewmembers knew that if we went down there would be no cost to high for our buddies to come get us. We have footage of rescue helicopters hoovering over downed crew members being blown out of the skiy when the odds of making a recovery were near zero. Because the 600 did not get through and achieve victory is not the point Mary D. There was an unwritten code among us that we would do whatever it took to save one of our own and their was no cost to high. Pilots would line up to be the next one in on these attempts. You miss the point Mary D.

Re: Into the Valley of Death

Beverly on 9/15/01 at 12:46 (060462)

John,

I suspect that we will have voluntary enlistments on a scale not seen since WWII. I too was just a little kid watching Vietnam on TV. It felt very far away. But this is happening right here to us, and because of that, I think we are going to have young people signing up right and left. The only good thing that might come out of all this loss is that our military forces will no longer be a scaled down presence.
I come from a standpoint that until last week, I was very in favor of decreased defense spending. This past week has completely changed my attitude.

Thank you for serving in Vietnam. I realize you guys did not come home to bands and fanfare like the WWII vets did.
Beverly