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Page 49
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<< 48. From Dealey Plaza to Gulf of Tonkin50. Letter to the Editor >>

Keep Singing

By George Critch

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To the editor:

A brief intro; I am a long-time admirer of your efforts to carry the torch of peace. When I returned from my exposure to the war I marched in peace vigils but to be honest, it was about the women, I was just trying to fit in. And the hippie women were cool and I wasn't. I knew the war was fucked up but I never thought we could stop it. I have to admit I was not worldly at all.

My awakening came about while in-country. Our participation in an operation in the delta had been successful, in the view of the warlords. When the after-action report came back with numbers that quantified the success, I relayed them to my friend who had been asleep, and missed the count. After he came out with a butt and a cup of mud I excitedly relayed the report to him. His response to my recitation of numbers was, and I quote, "how many churches and schools did we hit?" It was my epiphany and we are still the best of friends. We talk every Sunday night on the phone.

After that conversation, I looked at everything we did with a different slant. There wasn't just an enemy out there. There were innocent people who were affected by our actions. That revelation has never left me. The many subsistence fishing vessels that we inspected and harassed were the homes of poor people struggling to feed themselves. We were invading their life.

Two years ago I got a bad life forecast and had major surgery. I was laying in the pre-op when the anesthesiologist approached and started a conversation. She explained that her parents had escaped Vietnam with the collapse and how guilty and fortunate she felt to be in a major university hospital and how she wanted to give back and return to the country that she never knew. She had survivor's guilt; she was lovely and gentle; we spoke and I explained the ache in my soul over my participation in the war and how I interacted with boat people and the fisherman of the delta. She reached out and asked me how old I was in the war. When I responded "eighteen," a tear rolled down her cheek. She was a mother and compassionate.

So for you guys that have carried the anti-war torch for so long, I include you in the legions of the compassionate that I have met on my journey, and here are some words in consideration of those such as yourselves:

Keep singing!!!

Your inner song
Is strong
It pulls one along
As the river
All it snags
Becomes part
Of. It's throng
Caught in the current
Mixed with the inherent
Tune of the cacophony
Of its melody
So keep singing
Your inner song
Let the vibration
Ripple like a wave, long and true
Through the blue
Of the deep of your inner song
And you will never be wrong

<< 48. From Dealey Plaza to Gulf of Tonkin50. Letter to the Editor >>