Vietnam Full Disclosure

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Dearest Paul,

 

I write with a heavy heart to let you know we have lost another member of our family to war. Your Marine nephew Mike died of alcohol poisoning. His PTSD demons appear to have driven him to this end. We will never know. But we do know too many young marines and soldiers die too soon from the never-ending wounds of war.

 

He leaves a wife and 4 children who are in utter despair over the loss. They are a wonderful family and I wish you could have know them. They have moved up from Camp Lejuene NC. They are putting their lives back together in CT now in the arms of their families. The twins are 11, Matt 15 & Josh 18. The children are resettled in CT schools and the family is trying to sort out the nightmare. We are committed to supporting them throughout their lifetime. I only wish the our government would care enough to do the same. It takes young military families a lifetime to recover from the wounds of war. Keep them all in your prayers!

 

I think of you often. As a Navy Nurse in the VietNam Med Evac Hospital Network (ICU, Med Evac, VietNam Medic Training program), we shared your pain as we cared for too many dying and disabled teens who ultimately died in vain. We had tragic losses for both U.S. and Vietnamese families that last a lifetime.

 

I can do some good by sharing our family story. You were Killed in Action along the DMZ on July 30,1968, just in time to celebrate your 20ieth birthday. Not may teenagers lived to make it home that year or many other years, as we have now moved to a state of never-ending war here. You death was followed by mom’s massive heart attack and total disability until her death. Like so many Gold Star Mothers, she too died of a broken heart.

 

I did finally get back to VietNam to honor your ghost and the spirits of all the victims of that horrific war. I visited DMZ, Khe Sanh and Camp Carroll among others. I tried to locate Hill 606 where you died but that trek was not successful. I have been supporting an orphanage in Hue in your honor. I also support other Agent Orange orphanages throughout Vietnam via Vets for Peace. It was therapeutic to see the positive changes in VietNam. I left with a sense of hope for VietNam.
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I continue to be active in peace and justice work over these 50 years through VietNam Vets Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Gold Star Families Speak Out and Mass. Peace Action, among others. We carry on the pledge to you to make sure you did not die in vain and will be remembered eternally for helping to bring an end to war.
 

Your loving sister
Bonnie (Mary) Gorman RN, Quincy, MA

 

To you, the 58,000 dead soldiers who fought in our Viet Nam war, whose names are on the Wall–

 

Again, I am writing to you, third year in a row, and wishing I had some good news to share. Alas, I don’t.

The U.S., under Trump, is attacking countries and people around the world–­–­­supporting Israel’s missile attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, and maybe next the West Bank. He has “given his permission” for Israel to take Syria’s Golan Heights, in violation of the UN. And has certified that Israel’s capital can move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which will exclude the presence there of Palestinians who also claim Jerusalem as their capital.

Trump is trying to dismantle President Maduro’s government in Venezuela and the Venezuelans are suffering with no electricity and shortages of food and medicines. In the first two years of his regime, Trump has tripled drone strikes in five countries and thousands of innocent people have died or suffered injuries. The U.S. is supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the poorest country in the world, where cholera is raging and food and medicine is in short supply. This week we supported a bombing of a hospital in Yemen. Tragically, 4 children and 1 health worker were among the 7 killed. 8 other civilians were wounded. Trump thinks we have given too much relief to Puerto Rico already. He says there will be no more, even though there were more than 3,000 deaths from Hurricane Maria and much infrastructure was destroyed.

Perhaps most devastatingly, Trump has pulled the U.S. out the Paris Climate Agreement, which 185 countries have signed on. Trump seem incapable of understanding the consequences of our deteriorating climate and rising seas and what’s in store for the world, especially the low-lying countries and islands who are already suffering the loss of land… or, he has too many friends in the oil/gas/fracking business.

And Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal which was designed to shut down Iran’s efforts to produce nuclear bombs. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has kept track of the world’s potential nuclear destruction, has moved the nuclear clock to two minutes to midnight. Yet, the U.S. has announced we will spend three trillion dollars upgrading our nuclear strike force.

Not a pretty picture, is it? But we in Veterans for Peace are struggling every day to right some of these wrongs. We are fighting the privatization of our VA hospital system. We are fighting against the U.S. intention to build more naval bases in Okinawa, Japan. We are fighting to Move the Money from our military to civil necessities… infrastructure, education, health care and more.

And we are remembering the war in Viet Nam and the consequences. A superb exhibit about the massacre at My Lai in 1968 has been traveling the county, waking people up to the insanity of our invasion and the horror of body counts of civilians––our method of counting dead Vietnamese peasants as proof that the war was being won.

We are doing podcasts of the stories of GI’s who tried to stop the war, some of whom spent years in prisons for their efforts. I wish you could hear them. Maybe you can. They are telling their stories to discourage the next generations from being enticed into our military for the next wars. We are visiting high schools on Parent/Teachers night, and offering literature to the students and their parents about where they can find support for attending college without joining the military, and what kind of promises recruiters offer their children that won’t be delivered.

So here we are. The world is not in good shape and we wish you were here to help us make it better. We are very sorry that you had to fight and die in the U.S. war in Vietnam and we feel that you would be working with us to help us find peace all over the world. Wouldn’t you? I feel sure you would.

 

Jill Godmilow

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