OPINION – Once upon a very serious time a young Marine platoon commander and a young Marine squad leader were hunkered down with the rest of their platoon taking incoming mortar rounds from a gang from the 325th Division of the North Vietnamese Army.
The two sat discussing strategy as they knew that as soon as the incoming lifted, the ground assault by the 324th would begin and there was not much doubt that their superior numbers would make short work of the Marine platoon.
“What’s your thinking?” asked the platoon commander.
“I’m thinking they’re of the belief that we’re still gonna be hunkered when they begin their assault and we oughta be the ones who start the assault.”
The lieutenant narrowed his eyes, “You’re kidding!”
“No sir, I figure the outcome’s gonna be the same and surprise might give us an edge that diggin’ in won’t.”
The word passed quickly and, just before the last two mortar rounds landed, the Marines stood up and lit into the 325th soldiers with something akin to the “Rebel Yell” – of American Civil War fame – rising above the sound of their rifles and shotguns.
A few of the Marines went down but most got through and separated themselves enough that Army artillery could fire some support. Reinforcements were choppered in and the fallen were recovered after the 325th was chased back into the jungled hills.
All that survived lived troubledly ever after.
• • •
As a combat therapist, I listen to what my people need to talk about, without judgment, platitudes, and advice. What I hear are the demons, past and present, that rob them of their tranquility, their intimacy and, often, their potency.
Most just want to find a way to be open enough to not be alone, controlled enough to not scare or drive people away, and to have a shot at four or five hours of sleep for more than one night in a row.
“Hopelessness” is the worst of the afflictions that I listen to: “I can’t …,” “They won’t…,” or “It just doesn’t matter.”
I don’t remember hearing, in the instance cited at the beginning of this column, any conversations of hopelessness, lethargy, or defeatism; there was just decisive action.
I don’t know whether the piss-poor voter turnout is hopelessness, lethargy, or defeatism, but I do know that it is being a piss-poor steward for this country whose flag so many have given so much.
I’m thinking they’re of the belief that we’re still gonna be hunkered and allow “them” to continue make our decisions for us after this next election.
Dirty Harry might ask those who choose not to go to the trouble of voting, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk?”
Honor and necessity demand that we “take the hill.” Which hill? THE HILL.
We have a mayoral race and a city council race coming up, two keys concerning what happens in St. George; if you ain’t got time to vote, don’t waste my time by complaining about the outcome.
Written by: Bruce C. Solomon, Readjustment Counselor, St. George Vet Center