The Virtual Wall



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54 Responses to The Virtual Wall

  1. Pundita says:

    Jesus wept.

  2. Mikey says:

    Thank you, Colonel
    From time to time, we need a reminder.

  3. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    They have fought to keep the world safe from communism. Even for us behind the iron curtain.
    May they rest in peace!

  4. Peter AU says:

    @ pl
    Delete this post if it crosses boundaries.
    My memory is not good but I think I recall at some point not far back, you commented about US and NV forces exchanging tracer on new years eve or similar marking point (perhaps it was somewhere else I read that). It would be good to also remember, along with all who passed away at that time, those who were fighting for a sovereign nation.
    This is a crap world we live in at times.
    Loyalty to ones nation rather than to a particular ideology, I think is is something we must cling to in these times.

  5. LXV says:

    War is a racket…!
    They have fought to preserve Pax Americana oligarchs’ World dominance.
    Fixed it for you, “doctor”…

  6. georgeg says:

    Amnesia is quick to set in (with some of us)…..

  7. turcopolier says:

    PA et al
    I put the link up to make it more available worldwide for those who want information on the Vietnam dead. “War is a racket?” Don’t you think we know that and did then? pl

  8. Joe100 says:

    This brought me back to reviewing names from my time with a company – and what I realized is missing from The Wall is any sense of the number and consequences of the often horrendous wounded casualties: missing legs, spinal cord injury causing lifetime wheel chair use, traumatic brain injury, etc. During my time in the field most of our casualties were from “booby traps” (“IEDs” today) – mostly created from dud bombs and artillery rounds.
    USMC wounded in Vietnam were about 88+ thousand compared to ~13 thousand deaths
    These names – the wounded – should also not be forgotten

  9. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thank you for this. I didn’t know this virtual wall existed. I’ve seen the ‘real’ wall twice. I’d read that seeing it in person was deeply moving but still its impact was profound. Especially when I found the name of a person I knew from my service days who was a casualty.
    At the time of the design’s proposal and construction it was extremely controversial, especially among veterans of both Vietnam and earlier wars. This was not least because the young designer was of Asian ancestry. I haven’t heard or seen anything about the controversy for at least a decade. Is that because its earlier opponents have accepted it, or has the disagreement just gone underground?

  10. J says:

    I’m puzzled, McCain who knows what war is (or should based on his Hanoi experiences), and its toll on those that fight wars, why is he so quick to get U.S. embroiled in unnecessary wars, like his unceasing rant to unnecessarily antagonizing Russia? I can understand Graham, as he knows nothing about war and conflict, since he is a JAG and gets to now wear his dress blues in retirement.
    I just don’t understand McCain.

  11. georgeg says:

    His Hanoi “experiences” were far from having an understanding of war.
    McCain was a privileged participant…..

  12. Valissa says:

    It is quite simple… McCain is an imperialist. For some reason it is not fashionable to use this term these days, but it is IMO a very useful label. All the Borgists are imperialists.
    McCain has been the chairman of the Republican imperialists since 1993. Their group is the International Republican Institute
    Unsurprisingly Madeleine Albright is the long time chairman of the imperialist Democrats. Their group is the National Democratic Institute

  13. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Ah the world is flat indeed? And pleasr tell me how can I prevent an earthquake with lambliver?

  14. Joe100 says:

    An excellent place to start with understanding McCain is to read “The Nightingales Song” – which I think nails his persona.
    I suspect that some combination of his POW time and possible self-recognition that he was a total f.. up who got bailed out of serial Navy troubles by his family connection (through direct intervention or otherwise) plus being set up as a politician to capitalize on his “POW fame” by his second’s wife’s father have combined to corrosively create what we see today…

  15. That was pretty snarky. The men and women on that wall fought for those fighting beside them. Please do not denigrate their lives because you don’t agree with the reason they were sent to fight and die.

  16. Bobo says:

    “Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth;
    Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth.

  17. elaine says:

    Seeing his name & looking at his medals was hard enough; remembering
    what a great dancer he was was fun ’cause he really could dance…
    hadn’t thought of him in awhile…a 1/3 of a way through the George Jones
    song the tears came.

  18. turcopolier says:

    Richard Armstrong
    There have been several real ugly comments from people who want to call themselves “anti-war activists.” I posted this one as a reminder that there are many who still do not understand that those that fought there are pretty much all anti-war activists. It is dogma on the Left that we were not spat on. I was spat on in uniform at San Francisco International airport in April, 1968. pl

  19. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Valissa, Stephen Kinzer’s recent book, **The True Flag**, is about the events that led to the USA becoming a colonialist country at the turn into the 20th century. I had previously been aware of the fact that their was opposition to becoming such, but I had no idea how close the anti-colonialists came to succeeding. If there is a villain in the piece it is William Jennings Bryan, who claimed to be an anti-colonialist but twice failed to take a critical step. I highly recommend the book.

  20. turcopolier says:

    ex-PFC Chuck
    There is a very good section in “The Proud Tower” on the anti-imperialist movement in the US around 1900. pl

  21. John Minnerath says:

    I was never spat on in uniform, though a few friends were.
    I was actually refused a job because I was a recently returned veteran in 1965.

  22. turcopolier says:

    John Minnerath
    I was waiting for a bus to Travis AFB to get on the trans-Pacific flight. I marine gunnywas waiting with me. An awful looking fat woman in a mumu got out of a VW bug and walked over to us. She decided to spit on the captain, me. Even better, in 1974 when I was in grad school, at U of Utah with several other officers a young woman in a class on Islamic Art told the prof that we should not be allowed to be there because we were dangerous to decent people and might go mad and attack the civilian students. the prof was dumbfounded. My wife who was taking the class with me told this silly kid that if we were as bad as she claimed then she should be more careful when she talked about us. And, I, too was refused service by a cople of a—–e airline ticket agents because they resented having been forced to serve in the Coast Guard, or at some stateside AFB. I remember those two in particular. So, we did not wear uniform in big US cities until Regan came to office. then, all that changed and I remember walking down 17th Street near the OEB when a pretty girl smiled at me and said, “good morning, colonel.” A new day had dawned. pl

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It started long before that, WJB.
    Clay, one of Lincoln’s Secretaries, was an imperialist.
    I suspect that it all had to do with the puritanical streak in Northern sections of the United States.
    I mean, it is clear to me that US, over 200 year interaction with Japan obtained nothing of any value. And then, I would argue that she has lost much.
    Japan, on the other hand, has obtained a lot.
    Nor can I see any upside to the Spanish-American War; what did US gain from that that one could point to in the United States and say “Yup, that war paid for this.”
    Unlike UK were you can sometimes come across someone wearing a string of pearls, bequeathed to her by an ancestor who was making money off India (some would say pillaging her.)
    Is this another case of sentiment? Akin to the sentimental tyranny of Greece and Rome on the minds of Colonial Americans or the sentimental religiosity that conflates US with the Ancient Israel and loves all things Israel?
    One begins to wonder.

  24. Valissa says:

    Thanks for the recommendation! I have read “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq” by Kinzer. He’s a great writer.

  25. DickT says:

    There were a lot of tracers and slap flares up in the air where I was at midnight Jan 1, 1971.Most everybody was wasted. Nothing romantic or to be proud of. That’s not to say it wasn’t different at some other place and time.

  26. Doug Welch says:

    Thanks for the post. I was able to see the name of my uncle, SB4 Roy Newsom of Somers, CT who died with the 501st Reg, 101st AB. Thanks, guys.

  27. turcopolier says:

    Look up my piece “The Huron Carol” We were not all a lot of drunken draftees counting the days until DEROS. pl

  28. turcopolier says:

    Maybe you should try reading something that is not written by a leftist sorehead. pl

  29. Valissa says:

    PL, I read a great variety of material from a great variety of points of view. How else to get perspective?

  30. Lloyd D. Herod, Jr. says:

    Col.& Members of SST.
    One of the strongest and most poignant memories I have was taking a walk in DC while on business. That November day I walked over a rise right into the Memorial’s dedication ceremony. Those memories are still with me, as are the emotions that the Wall brings. When I visit DC, I make it a point to return.
    Thank you for providing a place to honor such memories.

  31. Mikey says:

    I don’t think this is an appropriate place to make this sort of comment. It would be better to bring it up in a discussion on foreign policy rather than in a tribute to the many young men who gave their lives in this war. I don’t mean to be confrontational, that is not my intent. A few of these guys on the wall I am familiar with, as I’ve known their brothers and sisters, there are many more whose lives were forever changed who made it home, but never really adapted. When I knew them, the last thing on their mind was politics. Please respect that.

  32. Fred82 says:

    Col Lang sir,
    What percentage of the anti-war movement would you say were really rebelling against their parents vice opposing the war?

  33. Well for me, my opposition – ambivalence, really – to the wall and its designer evaporated upon first contact. I don’t see how anyone can get up close and personal with it and retain animosity. You see the visitors, their respect, even reverence; and the children standing weeping before some name …
    Then they came out with the statue depicting the three grunts in jungle fatigues, one with the towel draped over the back of his neck, the one in the middle limping and held up by the other two. That soothed me some more.

  34. turcopolier says:

    The moniker sounds like a SOG recon target designator. They were all things like Q24, L46, etc. I avoided going to the Wall for a number of years and then one summer night my wife said she wanted to go see it. I walked up and down for a while and began to feel better and told her that at least I did not see the names of people I knew. She pointed to one. It was the name of a man who had lived next door to us at Ft. Gulick in the CZ. I have never been back. pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    Rebelling against mom and dad? No idea. The intel enlisted men who worked for me in VN were all college grads who could have avoided the draft easily, but chose not to. They were quite bitter against the marchers with their display of enemy flags, etc. The SF men later were just indifferent to such creatures. pl

  36. raven says:

    Yes, we were “creatures”. We were, and remain, “soreheads”. Soreheads, because we knew then and evidence continues to confirm that Johnson and Nixon prosecuted a war they knew they were not going to win. It’s awful that someone “spit” on returning troops. (The only ones that ever metaphorically spit on me were right-wingers who thought we were pussies front crushing those little jingle buggers) It’s much worse that Nixon torpedoed the peace talks so he would be elected. I’m a sorehead that my friends died for nothing. I know this is not to popular view here but I’ll never change and don’t expect ya’ll will either.

  37. DickT says:

    Read the piece about your unit. You guys have of course earned the right to have any opinion you want.
    I was not a draftee but still part of the rabble. I’d like to think some of us had redeeming qualities. We were there to support dustoff and medevac in one capacity or another. We weren’t at all combat trained but went up in the guard towers each night in shifts to watch our 3 coils of concertina for sappers.
    From my tower I did like the elegant way the red lines of tracers from Puff (Spooky?) would curve as they circled the target on the mountain out where the ROKs patrolled.

  38. turcopolier says:

    Dick T
    Nobody said you were rabble. Nobody. pl

  39. turcopolier says:

    Just another “antiwar activist” troll. Friend of Ken? pl

  40. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Not for nothing. For the hope of a better life for hundreds of millions of people. For someone like me.

  41. raven says:

    What are you talking about, Ken who?
    Maybe you should stop being a “sorehead” about some fat woman in a mumu that spit on you almost 50 years ago.

  42. turcopolier says:

    She is among the least of the things I would like to eliminate from memory. pl

  43. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Wow. Freedom of speech, ha? And freedom to be an $ߣ×÷?
    Blimey mate! This is a private blog. It is not wise (not to mention unpolite) to insult the owner.

  44. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater responds to Elaine,
    That’s also a poem. An absolute stunner! Thank you.

  45. Babak Makkinejad says:

    An elegy in style of Rilke.

  46. Jim MacMillan says:

    Here are some imprecise quotes from past acquaintances. I hope they will forgive my botched up wording:
    “Thank you to the Viet-Nam Vets who taught me, coached me, and influenced me when I was a young soldier.”
    “Millions of Veterans write blank checks payable to their country for amounts up to and including their lives. Why are you pi$$ing and moaning about a few dollars in taxes to upgrade their pay, their medical care, or their funerals?”

  47. Colonel Lang,
    I can’t claim that honor. It was I to whom recon – in my case, Marine Corps Force Recon teams – called in their targets; I was an artillery Fire Direction Control operator. Kilo 4/11 is the designation of my old arty unit, Kilo Battery, Fourth Battalion, Eleventh Marines. We shot the M 109 155 mm SP howitzer; probably the A1 or A2 version since we had 20 click range. The call signs of our Recon teams were kind of literary: I remember Parker Pen and Night Scholar. They kept pretty quiet on the radio and we never called them lest the noise give them away; we waited for them to call us, or we would just press the squelch button to let them know we had something to tell them. Years later I met a former Recon sergeant at a Vet Center discussion group. It was quite a moment, even though he’d been attached to Third Marine Division and I to the First.
    I went to the Wall on the day it opened and President Reagan came out and addressed us. That was the time he referred to the war as a noble cause. He spoke softly and a wind blew some of his words away, but I heard those two. It was good to hear; music to mine and no doubt to many others’ ears, though bittersweet. I couldn’t find any names I knew, which was not as good as it sounds, for I knew there had to be one; the sergeant who led the night ambush patrols around our hill. He’d been killed on a night I hadn’t gone on patrol, for what reason I can’t recall; it was a volunteer detail. So at the Wall, I learned that I had forgotten his name. Somehow this made it worse. I never went back, either.

  48. Balint,
    Thank you. In spite of all you may have heard about cynical, bitter Namvets – and there’s no shortage of them and I passed through that territory myself – many of us did have that very hope you describe. We may – or may not have – been naive; we may – or may not have – been duped; it may – or may not have – been all for naught. But there was a hope. One can go up on Chicago’s Argyle Street and find the South Vietnamese flag everywhere, and Vietnamese who speak well of the Americans.

  49. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater replies to Babak Makkinejad,
    I had a tug of memory and forthwith ordered one of Arthur Waley’s translations from the Chinese. Then I remembered Ezra Pound’s translation of a poem by the Tang dynasty writer, Li Po. Pound indicated that it was “After Li Po.” (Pound couldn’t read Chinese, but so what.) I have been reverse engineering Rilke’s ‘Autumn Day’, using fifteen different internet translations from the German. Just pick the line you like the best and stack them up. There is a touch of ‘Autumn Day’ at the end of this, by the way, the leaves falling early, the wind…
    The poet’s use of the informal American idiom “’cause “rather than the more formal usage of, say, a classic elegy, such as ‘Lycidas,’ adds a deft modernist touch. ‘Woodstockian,’ you might almost say…
    The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter.
    While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
    I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
    You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
    You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
    And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
    Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.
    At fourteen I married My Lord you.
    I never laughed, being bashful.
    Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
    Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.
    At fifteen I stopped scowling,
    I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
    Forever and forever, and forever.
    Why should I climb the look out?
    At sixteen you departed
    You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
    And you have been gone five months.
    The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.
    You dragged your feet when you went out.
    By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
    Too deep to clear them away!
    The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
    The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
    Over the grass in the West garden;
    They hurt me.
    I grow older.
    If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
    Please let me know beforehand,
    And I will come out to meet you
    As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you Tidewater but this is not an elegy.
    This is a very fine example of that virtue which has always been demanded of the Oriental wife:
    “Loyalty in face of abandonment”
    Pond is missing an essential cultural nuance here.
    A modern American woman probably would be owning all of that fellow’s assets by then, plus the custody of any children, plus sympathy from any and all…

  51. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says to Babak Makkinejad,
    Yes, you are right that ‘The River Merchant’s Wife’ is not be an elegy. To me it was something about the voice(s). Pound’s ‘translation’ (irritating Waley, though Pound was right) came out in 1917 and I was surprised to just learn that it is regarded as a war poem –a poem with the war deep in its subtext. There were soldiers on the front who saw it as such. One man wrote that he always carried it with him. So I was closer than I thought.
    I hope E. is only smiling, not laughing, at us…

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