For those that will certainly fight for it…FREEDOM …has a flavor the defended shall never know.

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L/Cpl Edwin L. “Tim” Craft, B Co 3rd AT’s, Khe Sanh Combat Base, February, 1968

They that can give up vital liberty to obtain a small temporary safety and security deserve no liberty no one safety.

Benjamin Franklin,Memoirs that the Life & writings of Benjamin Franklin

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me her ears;

I concerned bury Caesar, no to worship him.

The evil that guys do lives after them;

The good is oft interred v their bones.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Growing up, mine parents had a battered blue picture album (remember those things?) that ns loved to upper and lower reversal through. It had pictures the my dad at miscellaneous camps in Vietnam – including some men that my father would certainly remember v tears, as they did no make that home. And pictures of mine (very beautiful) mom playing top top the beach in southerly California. Ns studied every detail of those pictures, the years when two worlds collided prior to they created me.

They met top top a blind date to a Beach guys concert (quintessential 1960s southerly California there) right prior to my father shipped off overseas (Oberammergau and also then Nam) and also wrote ago and forth to every other during his tour of duty as a door gunner ~ above a helicopter gunship through the 101st Airborne (life expectations of like 30 secs in battle). They to be married as soon as my father returned, with a copper Star for valor in combat, on freedom Day, in 1970. This particular day they are celebrating their 50th (!) wedding anniversary. It to be a long-standing joke in our family members that they determined to leaving their an individual independence behind on self-reliance Day.

The only other “souvenir” they have actually from that era is the bag of letter my father had written to my mommy on red, white, and also blue military stationery. He to be not enabled to save the letter she composed to him. The soldiers would burn the letter from residence so they would certainly not autumn into the enemy’s hands. (Communists were an extremely much into psychological warfare. If castle came across a soldier’s letters, they would write letters earlier home to tell their family or far-reaching other that they had died or send lewd things.) to this day, they have refused to share the contents of those letters v us. Reportedly some the them room pretty raw, i beg your pardon isn’t surprising, due to the fact that my father was in few of the goriest war of the war, consisting of Dong Ap Bia, the Crouching Beast, Hill 937 (otherwise well-known as Hamburger Hill). And, honestly, i don’t think Hamburger Hill to be the worst fight he experienced, despite it appears to be the one many Americans understand about.

On the inside of the photo album’s former cover, my father had actually written in calligraphy, “Freedom is a taste the protected will never know.” after ~ that, he had written the dates when that shipped turn off to Vietnam (he to be drafted) and also the work he lastly made it home. That told us cultivation up the he likewise had this created this quote on his helmet in addition to my mother’s name.

Those words have actually remained v me over the years. Until today, ns did not know they were paraphrasing a 1968 decided from Tim Craft:

I i graduated from High school in1966, and every one of my course studies had been academic. My main interests as well as girls were Marching Band and also Debate. Having won the Kansas State Oratorical championship in 1964 v a speech topic “Optimism Formula for Freedom“, mine intentions to be to become a lawyer. Ns was conscious of theViet Namwar, particularly when it began to warmth up in 1965. Small did I understand that before the following year to be over the I would certainly take a trip straight right into the pits of hell and see the heaviest fighting our nation has ever experienced.

After high school, i enrolled in small college. Ns paid mine own method by likewise working at night component time because that the H. D. Lee firm that make clothing. As soon as I quit university to sign up with the Marines my professors and also especially the office do the efforts to gain me to reconsider by speak “But your grades are well over average. You will certainly never have to go!” my reply, and my reason for joining, was just “those guys fighting and dying over there space no more deserving to it is in there than me, and I can’t feel best letting them perform something I would not.”

My score was never to be heroic or gallant. The was the last point on mine mind. ~ joining, i was right in the claims nine months when I was sent out toNam. En route, we came down on Wake Island. It looked favor a grain of sand in the middle of the ocean when ours commercial trip United 747 Jet pitched downward and also aimed at that grain that sand. My assumed was “You’ve obtained to be kidding me”. Every one of the Marines that fought there came to be POW’s that the Japanese. Later, i met one of them and also got to recognize him well. I spoke at his funeral. His name was Bob Eaton.

Next avoid wasOkinawa. The following day it wasDa Nang, climate Dong Ha, climate Hell in ~ Con Thien. My an initial day in the ar I met a maritime who would be my Commanding Officer…a well man. Thirty minutes later, Lt. Dallas Thompson would relocate in front of me and die indigenous an explosion. He dropped right across my lap and died looking into my eyes. Us were acquisition so much incoming that our Platoon Sgt. Ordered united state off the hill, mainly due to the fact that they had actually our small bunker zero’d in. Once I discovered a hole to run in, the marine in it mistook me for a corpsman and called me “Doc”. The said, “’Doc’, the is some of the fanciest footwork ns have ever seen. They were complying with you every the method down. You would certainly go right and they would certainly explode left, then you’d walk left and also they would explode right. You probably saved every one of those guys.” i told him, “I’m no a corpsman. I’m a Marine, and also I just obtained here. All ns was is scared and also following orders. Ns don’t know sufficient to arrangement anything!” He just looked at me for a lengthy while and said, “That was still some operation Doc!” (Jarheads!!!) Con Thien, by the way means “Place of Angels”. We were under siege over there for several months and were reduced off native food and water for lot of it.

Leatherneck Magazinecalled the siege for Con Thien “Time in the Barrel”. We obtained a minimum of 200 incoming ring a day, and it was a little place. That felt prefer they fight every square inch. One thing I easily learned was just how to understand the distinction in the sound of incoming. That knowledge was precise a issue of life and also death. Mortars do a high arch and the initial blast in the street was a muffled report. An artillery round has actually a bassier sound. It gave you slightly an ext time to find cover, but if it was on you, then you to be in deep trouble. The other one to be the many terrifying. It to be the rocket, and also it screamed as it come in. You could not tell wherein it could come down, and also it came fast. They likewise had recoilless rifles the fired big shells. They walk off nearly at the exact same time friend heard castle fired in ~ you, and they had actually a flat trajectory.

My 2nd day in the field one more Marine and I wiped the end an artillery section that had us pinned down. The Phantoms that flew end reported we had actually killed 162 of the enemy. This was L/Cpl Arthur Kennedy and myself. Us went the end under straight fire and had to acquire out and make certain the grunts (infantry) to be down before we could fire our Ontos. If we had been in any type of other branch both of united state would have actually received the conference Medal of Honor. The truth I learned over and also over is the Marines were too little an outfit to allow its members to walk to get them, and many the the Marines i knew were cheated the end of them. Throughout 1967 and also 1968 the Marines boring the brunt the the war, and that is a fact. World publication Encyclopedia reported the fact. Don’t acquire me wrong. Ns am no medal happy and I wasn’t then. As soon as I reverted I had at least 4 rows, and the Marines do you knife theirs.

After months of carnage we had actually a stop fire on Christmas night of 1967. Ns arrived there around the second week the August and also saw many an excellent men die. All of us live with fatality every second of every day. On this specific Christmas Eve ns heard a broadcast on armed Forces radio and also learned the “Clintonites” to be marching on ours Capitol protesting versus us! I could not think what i was hearing. Here we were fighting for freedom and these short life commies ago home were fighting against us. Ns was dazed. I just can not understand it. I was ache to my soul, angered, and disgusted. (This motivated me to compose a blog post on a C-Ration case.)

Not really long after the night we got the indigenous that we were going to a resort area called Khe Sanh. It had actually not seen any type of of this type of action. That actually had a chaos hall and also a laundry, and also they marched come chow. Wow!!! What unfathomable luxuries. Also, during this time ns was on an operation with B Co 1/9 referred to as Kingfisher, wherein we gained the surname “Walking Dead”, and a brand-new phrase was coined “Thousand garden stare.” among the Marines started cussing one night, and also there to be a huge commotion. The next day we found out a tiger had got him by the arm and also was simply carrying that off. He to be punching that in the snout. It obtained as far as theBenHoaRiverand didn’t understand what to perform with him, so it just let him go. The story was inStars and also Stripes. (I to be afraid to write back home about that one for fear they would think ns was nuts.) The Marines simply kidded him about being as well grisly because that the tiger and also that it wanted a softer reduced of meat.

When I gained to Khe Sanh, certain enough, they were marching come chow, had on starched utilities, and what really blew my mind was that every one of their bunkers to be built over ground!!! What was wrong with these people? we were met by our new CO, whom I had met at Con Thien. Ns didn’t know who he was, just that he was a large wig. Captain James Lea told united state in no uncertain terms that we would loss out in the morning clean shaven and also in fresh starched utilities, because special arrangements had been produced us. The small Officer took over after Captain Lea left and also asked if us had any questions. Being an old salt by currently I called him, “Sir, v all early respect for her rank you have the right to go —- yourself, because me and my guys are not going come live in any type of of these over ground bunkers.” He stated “Fine, Corporal Craft” (Actually, i was only a L/Cpl, lance corporal). He said “See the wire over there? You simply take her merry men and also go right out there and also pick out any kind of real estate you want since that is enemy territory and they will certainly be glad to have actually you. But, as lengthy as you space here, you will comply. Is the clear?” I claimed “Yes sir, perfectly.”

When the turned away and also went ago to the HQ, us beat feet because that the wire and told them us were going to it is in an LP (listening post). You can bet we would certainly be too! They claimed “And you’re taking an Ontos to an LP?” I just said “You never deserve to be too careful!” us went out and started digging in. Us were the diggingest bunch of men you ever saw. We simply dug and also filled sand bags. I think castle knew they had actually been had because they ignored us for virtually a week. Then, ours Lt was sent to review us the revolt act. En route, the siege began. The adversary hit the ammo dump, and it sounded like Volkswagens flying previous us. It to be Con Thien almost everywhere again. The following day ns was sent out for and also they want me to job-related with part Seabees to show then just how to construct the new bunkers. (I wonder why?)

This siege lasted because that 77 days and was the most intense fighting of our history. Some reports speak there to be 1,000 the us and also as countless as 400,000 that the enemy. Other reports display 6,000 Marines at Khe Sanh, yet this was not the Combat base. This figure had to incorporate the bordering hills and supporting units. Khe Sanh Combat basic wasn’t the big! Essentially, it was a runway. Us were taking some 1,600 ring of incoming every day every job on this tiny piece of actual estate. Someone calculated that we had actually an explosion from an enemy machine every 30 secs day and night because that 77 days. I had actually been called away from my safe hole once they discovered out my secondary mos to be Ammo/Tech. It was during this time that i spotted a reporter and also asked that if he would certainly please mind gaining a message ago to the human being for me. That asked “What is it?” ns told him and he looked shocked and also asked if I would mind writing that down. I said “Sure” and wrote it on a C-Ration case. That message is:“For those that will certainly fight because that it…FREEDOM …has a odor the safeguarded shall never know.”

Semper Fi!

When ns think around all the absurdities that have actually happened in our nation so far this year – human being losing your livelihoods since state and also local federal governments have arbitrarily and also capriciously determined to placed them out of business, human being losing their livelihoods because these governments will not defend their building or employee from obvious criminal behavior, youngsters losing their education and learning for all practical purposes, governors issuing mandates that civilization cannot buy seeds for their garden or song in church while enabling thousands of others to parade and riot – i think, man, can it get any worse than the full depravity we room seeing in state and local governments now?

Then ns think the my dad at twenty years old. Drafted into a war he did not desire to be in, come fight because that a political place he did not agree with, versus people the did not grow up wanting to hurt. And all the thousands of men put into the same place as the whose lives were snatched far from them before they ever really began, all by federal government fiat. And also how that instance was replicated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and numerous various other “conflicts” in recent years the the people ago home can’t also locate ~ above a map since they space too busy staring into their phones at the upset du jour.

Can over there be a more acute lose of freedom than political leaders manipulating health treatment to sow chaos and disorder? Yeah, actually, there is.

My dad was sent out to Vietnam by President lindon B. Johnson, likewise the architect that the modern welfare state and also the person who absolutely destroyed black and brown nuclear families. (Did you recognize that upwards the 70% of black color babies room born the end of wedlock now? and also those room the ones that didn’t acquire aborted. I read newly that black color homeschoolers score over 40 points higher than black youngsters in public schools on standardization tests. Is that a story about homeschooling or room black homeschoolers the persons most most likely to have strong and undamaged families? The tradition of LBJ, and people are still make the efforts to get rid of it.) LBJ was the an equipment politician par excellence, and he scarred my father (and maybe my entire family) for life.

Through the lens of mine father’s post-combat suffering, I came to understand why an equipment politicians space such monsters: the last point they appreciate is the desire for life, liberty, and the quest of happiness. Her entire existence is nothing but a way to an finish for them. And also that is what we room seeing now. Her job, her hard-won savings, her safety, her kid’s education, are all just method to an end for politicians that desire to snub trump in an election year. They’d destroy you in a heartbeat if it served the theatre they are participating in or space desperate to participate in back in DC.

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Governments have the power to it is in absolutely ruinous, and also it certainly doesn’t start and end at the commonwealth level. You’d it is in surprised by the degree of tyranny also the neighborhood school plank or zoning officials can accomplish when motivated. However that’s no something most people understand until they’ve been directly harmed. In fact, one astonishing variety of people space perfectly good watching other human being suffer so long as the is no affecting their bottom line. That is one thing this pandemic has illustrated quite plainly – as the middle class digital nomads and retirees pooh-pooh the “lower class” assist as they struggle to survive. Can’t your child simply do institution on your laptop?

The consolation for people who worry around any organizations is that institutions tend to be much larger than a single generation. Not every one of them, yet most that them. The Catholic Church will endure a nutso Marxist pope that thinks he have the right to invent new sins (and defines “sin” together disagreeing through his politics) in the same method it survived many other corruption popes – by the faithful covertly keeping ancient rituals and creeds intact. Education and learning will make it through 1960s bullshit an important theory and staged race wars – maybe in a new form, yet it will certainly survive, and also probably improve as parents become more involved in what their youngsters are learning. An excellent American cities will certainly be destroyed and then they will certainly be rebuilt. All by people strong enough to hold the line.

There has actually never been a an excellent civilization without a duration of Dark Ages, where the enemies were within rather of outside. Never. And also Dark ages tend not to be one long morass that people fall into and escape – choose quicksand in 1980s pop culture – yet a location that civilization have to learn and re-learn come avoid. (We used to joke once our daughter to be a baby that babies division their universe right into three categories: food, not food, and try again later. That’s more or much less the trajectory of politics: civilization, not civilization, and try again later.)

One that the funny things around the American transformation is the America was a great civilization well before the statements of Independence. A many school children don’t recognize that, because textbooks act the battle as “okay us fought and won, currently let’s start to figure this entirety government point out.” enlightenment punks were fighting against the brothers decades before that renowned fuck-you was signed, sealed, and also delivered. By the moment the revolution was in complete swing, it was the job of more than one generation. ~ above the sly, our founding Fathers had built a shadow nation to keep the values they organized dear.

And that has happened several times in the food of ours country’s history. Abolitionists built a zero society. Industrialists constructed a shadow society. And also now, every little thing we are, the human being who proceed to think in the American experiment, have actually a zero society.

These do tend to prevail against the odds. However there is never basic path to autonomy. So be glad because that the brawl, because it means you possess something worth fighting for.