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MarineCombatEngineer

(12,917 posts)
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:11 PM May 21

When I got home from my 2nd tour in Vietnam, my younger brother was heavily involved

in the anti war protests, we got into a heated discussion about the morals of the war, he went on and on about US war crimes and at that point I'd had enough of his platitudes and asked him that as a Marine who had served twice in Vietnam if I was the enemy, he came back with the most profound answer I've ever heard, he said, and I quote, "No brother, you're not the enemy, you're a victim".

That threw me and I really had no answer to him, unfortunately, he was killed by a drunk driver in 1980 and I truly miss his wisdom to this day.

Just reflecting on my life here while I await for my agent to line up a load for me.

Everyone, enjoy the rest of the week.
Peace out
Dan.

69 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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When I got home from my 2nd tour in Vietnam, my younger brother was heavily involved (Original Post) MarineCombatEngineer May 21 OP
Sorry about your loss. Nt spooky3 May 21 #1
Thank you for sharing. David__77 May 21 #2
The pain of his loss still reverberates in my soul, MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #3
wow. so many ways that argument could... ret5hd May 21 #4
A beautiful story, thanks. cilla4progress May 21 #5
Looking back now, I can say, yes he was. MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #6
You should be proud of your brother and pwb May 21 #7
I am very proud of my brother and my service, but especially my late brother MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #8
Since I came home... almost 60 years ago now.. albacore May 21 #36
Thank you for sharing your poignant reflections with us (me). Insightful, memorable moments help us all. AnotherMother4Peace May 21 #9
Sorry for you loss. Hope you have many good memories of him. LiberalFighter May 21 #10
Thank you and I do, MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #11
Exactly. In Vietnam and Iraq, we believed what our leaders told us. surfered May 21 #12
He was right malaise May 21 #13
It could be he arrived at that assessment because you were in his life. LiberalFighter May 21 #14
You're correct, later on in life, he said that his views on the war MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #17
You are both cool dudes. Peace. Joinfortmill May 21 #15
Just the word "Vietnam" is overwhelming to many to this day. I think it can't be described to those twodogsbarking May 21 #16
You're right. My father was the same way about the Korean conflict. I never really got the 'story' from him SWBTATTReg May 21 #20
My dad would never talk about his WWII Navy experience either. LiberalArkie May 21 #27
Very well put by your brother. 1WorldHope May 21 #18
Very well said and by brother would've wholeheartedly agreed with you. nt. MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #19
Smedley Butler (Major General, USMC, Ret) would agree Klondike Kat May 21 #35
I will check it out! Thanks! 1WorldHope May 21 #47
You mentioned the world 3 times in 1 post DontBelieveEastisEas May 21 #53
2 worlds and 1 planet is my count so far. 😜 1WorldHope May 21 #54
My hope is for 1 world DontBelieveEastisEas May 21 #56
Maybe there is that reality in another parallel universe where we choose differently. 1WorldHope May 22 #58
VVAW were one of the most level headed groups Voltaire2 May 21 #21
Your brother DownriverDem May 21 #22
I marched KT2000 May 21 #23
Did he have any thoughts on other wars? LiberalFighter May 21 #24
He died in 1980, but he hated all wars because of the death and destruction they caused. nt MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #25
Thank you for sharing Duncanpup May 21 #26
Sounds like a good brother. SarahD May 21 #28
He was and I miss him every day. nt MarineCombatEngineer May 21 #30
After all this time .. so rightly said. Bless you and your brother. Srkdqltr May 21 #29
Seems likely you brother loved you very much Attilatheblond May 21 #31
Sorry for your loss Americanme May 21 #32
My dad was on a destroyer - early Vietnam Days - when I was born TBF May 21 #33
My husband was a survival trainer later MOMFUDSKI May 21 #34
I read your post several times. democrank May 21 #37
This is a heartbreaking story, and my thanks to you for sharing it FakeNoose May 21 #38
2 words that sum up what was wrong with Vietnam: Henry Kissinger onetexan May 21 #39
Two more words: Robert McNamara. JustABozoOnThisBus May 21 #42
Thank you for two tours of duty AKwannabe May 21 #40
I am so sorry for your loss. sheshe2 May 21 #41
They also serve who only stand and wait. ... JustABozoOnThisBus May 21 #43
Your brother lives on in you Bayard May 21 #44
Your brother sounds like good people, I think his death was a loss to all of us Warpy May 21 #45
This is sad. beemerphill May 21 #46
❤️ littlemissmartypants May 21 #48
We also must never forget the DENVERPOPS May 21 #49
I took part in protests. Demobrat May 21 #50
Of course. I believe 95% of antiwar protestors believe the same thing lostnfound May 21 #51
I was curious about the oath I took back in summer of 1973. Looked it up. 70sEraVet May 21 #52
K&R Tom of Temecula May 21 #55
Remember this: The dirty, smelly hippies were right. tclambert May 21 #57
I enlisted purely so my dad couldn't shut me up at the dinner table over the war because I didn't know anything ... marble falls May 22 #59
Navy vet here.. Permanut May 22 #60
You brother musclecar6 May 22 #61
Beautifully said. AloeVera May 27 #62
Thank you AloeVera, MarineCombatEngineer May 27 #63
Me too. AloeVera May 27 #64
Sorry for the late, late answer, MarineCombatEngineer May 31 #66
Sorry for your loss, MCE Nixie May 27 #65
. BoRaGard May 31 #67
Love your DU handle. MarineCombatEngineer May 31 #68
Thank You for sharing. Stuart G May 31 #69

David__77

(23,809 posts)
2. Thank you for sharing.
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:15 PM
May 21

Amazing how much that war impacted families across this countries with effects that continue today.

MarineCombatEngineer

(12,917 posts)
3. The pain of his loss still reverberates in my soul,
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:19 PM
May 21

but over time, I've come to accept it, I'll always miss him and his wisdom.

ret5hd

(20,818 posts)
4. wow. so many ways that argument could...
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:23 PM
May 21

go deeply deeply wrong…

and he had the wisdom and words to turn it into something truly positive.

pwb

(11,772 posts)
7. You should be proud of your brother and
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:39 PM
May 21

your service. Millions of Vietnamese are free throughout the world because of us.

albacore

(2,435 posts)
36. Since I came home... almost 60 years ago now..
Tue May 21, 2024, 02:15 PM
May 21

I've reflected a lot on my service in the Corps.
I'm proud of being a Marine..proud of my service...proud of my accomplishments.
But profoundly saddened by what my country did with that service.
Brutalizing and killing people for crass political ends.
I'm not alone...
`I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar soaked fingers out of the business of these (Third World) nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the `haves' refuse to share with the `have-nots' by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don’t want and above all don’t want crammed down their throats by Americans.' –
Gen. David Shoup, United States Marine Commandant Medal of Honor recipient. 2 Purple Hearts

I’m proud to say that Gen. Shoup was my Commandant during the first part of my time in the Corps.

AnotherMother4Peace

(4,289 posts)
9. Thank you for sharing your poignant reflections with us (me). Insightful, memorable moments help us all.
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:44 PM
May 21

Edit to add - My brother also returned from Vietnam to his family, including our Mom, involved in antiwar activities. We never really talked about it. When he returned he bought a MG sportster and was off to live life. And he is still living quite the life, despite the long term of effects of being drenched in Agent Orange while in Vietnam.

surfered

(1,034 posts)
12. Exactly. In Vietnam and Iraq, we believed what our leaders told us.
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:52 PM
May 21

It’s not on us , it’s on them for lying.

2 tours! Above and beyond the call, but that’s what Marines do.

LiberalFighter

(52,548 posts)
14. It could be he arrived at that assessment because you were in his life.
Tue May 21, 2024, 12:58 PM
May 21

He had concerns about your life. And considered the war in Vietnam not worth the lives of Americans.

If you had not been in his life it may have been different with that view.

MarineCombatEngineer

(12,917 posts)
17. You're correct, later on in life, he said that his views on the war
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:01 PM
May 21

were because he had a brother directly impacted by the war.

twodogsbarking

(10,547 posts)
16. Just the word "Vietnam" is overwhelming to many to this day. I think it can't be described to those
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:01 PM
May 21

who didn't live through the time. Peace to you.

SWBTATTReg

(22,700 posts)
20. You're right. My father was the same way about the Korean conflict. I never really got the 'story' from him
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:22 PM
May 21

about his service in Korea, but I did get that he led soldiers out of behind enemy lines to safety. That alone, tells me a lot about my dad.

And Peace to you too.

1WorldHope

(768 posts)
18. Very well put by your brother.
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:18 PM
May 21

It is a lesson that I wish we could get across to all the young naive kids who run off for the fight. It's almost never, "the people's fight". It's the rich and powerful who start these wars. We need brave and strong young people to serve. But the service should not be killing other young people who have been forced into "serving". There are enough natural disasters and tragedies in the world. Young people could learn new skills, see the world, and help people instead of killing them. Humans must evolve beyond war. The planet needs us to undo the harm that has been done in the name of a few oligarch's greed.

Klondike Kat

(822 posts)
35. Smedley Butler (Major General, USMC, Ret) would agree
Tue May 21, 2024, 02:14 PM
May 21

He wrote "War is a Racket". It's a short read by a Marine who served with distinction.

53. You mentioned the world 3 times in 1 post
Tue May 21, 2024, 08:57 PM
May 21

And your user name contains it.
I believe my user name has the same meaning.

1WorldHope

(768 posts)
54. 2 worlds and 1 planet is my count so far. 😜
Tue May 21, 2024, 09:29 PM
May 21

I love this planet and we all live on it together. Why can't we cooperate for the good of all? Hence, my "hope" for "one world".
How about you? Tell me more about East not being East.

56. My hope is for 1 world
Tue May 21, 2024, 10:49 PM
May 21

Our planet = Our world!

There is only 1 world. Not an East and a West.

East is a relative term.
If you keep going east, you end up at a place you normally call west.
Your east is another person's west.
etc.
But I think it boils down to the idea that I believe in the hope of 1 world.
It's not real.

It comes from a Don Williams song.-- I Believe In You
I don't believe, completely, every line in the song: but a lot of it, I do.
I do believe in magic.

Lyrics
I don't believe in superstars
Organic food and foreign cars
I don't believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can't get along
That east is east and west is west
And being first is always best

But I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you
Well I don't believe that heaven waits
For only those who congregate
I like to think of God as love
He's down below, he's up above
He's watching people everywhere
He knows who does and doesn't care
And I'm an ordinary man
Sometimes I wonder who I am
But I believe in love
I believe in music
I believe in magic
And I believe in you
I know with all my certainty
What's going on with you and me
Is a good thing
It's true, I believe in you
I don't believe virginity
Is as common as it used to be
In working days and sleeping nights
That black is black and white is white
That Superman and Robin Hood
Are still alive in Hollywood
That gasoline's in short supply
The rising cost of getting by
But I believe in love
I believe in old folks
I believe in children
I believe in you
I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

1WorldHope

(768 posts)
58. Maybe there is that reality in another parallel universe where we choose differently.
Wed May 22, 2024, 12:06 AM
May 22

A place where we confer with the whales and the fish people before we make any changes to their home. Instead in this universe we dump our trash in the oceans. I hope someday to visit the universe where we live in mutual respect and harmony.

Voltaire2

(13,917 posts)
21. VVAW were one of the most level headed groups
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:32 PM
May 21

working to end the war. They were awesome to work with. We weren’t anti-vet we were all against a bad war.

DownriverDem

(6,331 posts)
22. Your brother
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:36 PM
May 21

was right. I was a protester and me & my friends never blamed the soldiers. For those who forgot, most of those soldiers were drafted.

KT2000

(20,675 posts)
23. I marched
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:39 PM
May 21

in anti-war protests with my boyfriend who had just come back from Viet Nam. People assumed because I was anti-war in Viet Nam that I was against the people who fought. How could I be? My cousin and brother-in-law did two tours and I prayed for them to come home. My brother was going to be next.
I am sorry for your loss. No one can replace a brother.

Srkdqltr

(6,715 posts)
29. After all this time .. so rightly said. Bless you and your brother.
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:53 PM
May 21

The soldiers are victims as much as the civilians.

Attilatheblond

(2,845 posts)
31. Seems likely you brother loved you very much
Tue May 21, 2024, 01:55 PM
May 21

and maybe understood the ramifications of that war more clearly than you did at the time. So horrible to lose such a brother before his time.

TBF

(32,552 posts)
33. My dad was on a destroyer - early Vietnam Days - when I was born
Tue May 21, 2024, 02:00 PM
May 21

He was from a small town & actually loved the military. He liked the classes, travel, and loved being on the boats. Anyway, he liked the service and only returned home because my mother did not want the military life. I think there is a lot of that sort of thing - there are things people like about serving, but sometimes leaders put folks in ridiculous positions.

Safe Travels!

MOMFUDSKI

(6,877 posts)
34. My husband was a survival trainer later
Tue May 21, 2024, 02:04 PM
May 21

60s. When he got discharged he sat for long hours on a plane with another airman going home. That guy set him straight on the War. He never forgot that conversation.

FakeNoose

(33,855 posts)
38. This is a heartbreaking story, and my thanks to you for sharing it
Tue May 21, 2024, 02:31 PM
May 21

I think we boomers can share in this, it's a part of all of us.

Many older boomers among us either volunteered or got drafted to fight the war. Those who were a few years younger saw our brothers, cousins and former classmates going off to Southeast Asia to fight in a useless war that we had no business being involved in.

How could we sit by and let it happened to more innocent Americans? Of course we had to protest the war. The lives lost, the damage done, the immeasurable cost of that war - all have changed us forever.

sheshe2

(84,917 posts)
41. I am so sorry for your loss.
Tue May 21, 2024, 03:03 PM
May 21

He sounds like he was a very good and kind man, as are you.

Thank you for your service, MCE.

JustABozoOnThisBus

(23,543 posts)
43. They also serve who only stand and wait. ...
Tue May 21, 2024, 03:08 PM
May 21

... or protest.

Here's to your brother.

-- Bozo, Army '66-'68

edit to add: credit Winston Churchill for the quote

Warpy

(112,114 posts)
45. Your brother sounds like good people, I think his death was a loss to all of us
Tue May 21, 2024, 03:46 PM
May 21

You did your best but that war was lost before it started. People who have next to nothing will fight liike hell to keep it.

We didn't learn. Regime change in Iraq gave us ISIS. Regime change in Afghanistan gave us the Taliban, Part Two.

I doubt they've managed to learn from those debacles, either.

And so it goes.

beemerphill

(481 posts)
46. This is sad.
Tue May 21, 2024, 04:18 PM
May 21

I served in Vietnam also. I volunteered for the Army and volunteered to go to Nam. I don't apologize for either. I believed what our government told us and wanted to serve my country. However, had we young men been told the truth, many of us might have made different choices. I believe that those of us who served were used to further politicians' careers. There was no need or valid reason for our country to send military force to that country. We followed orders and performed our jobs well, and our government took advantage of our ignorance of what was really happening. If there is an afterlife, and I believe there is, some of our leaders from that era have some serious questions to answer and serious accounting for their actions. Smedley Butler is right. War is a Racket.

DENVERPOPS

(9,254 posts)
49. We also must never forget the
Tue May 21, 2024, 06:37 PM
May 21

58,000+ that were the ultimate victims, all the POW's, All the MIA's, All the injured, and all the military maimed for life.......

Great Post MCE

Back then, I worked in a store, and McNamara and his son came in to shop. I told the store manager that I refused to wait on him and his son.

The Manager looked at me, and said: "I understand" and got someone else to wait on them......

Take Care MCE !!!!

Demobrat

(9,182 posts)
50. I took part in protests.
Tue May 21, 2024, 07:42 PM
May 21

I was protesting the draft, not the young men who were drafted. We were trying to save them.

lostnfound

(16,296 posts)
51. Of course. I believe 95% of antiwar protestors believe the same thing
Tue May 21, 2024, 08:32 PM
May 21

Every woman i ever knew who was out protesting saw all those young soldiers as victims. The guilty parties are the ideologues, corporatists and selfish politicians who send them in to ill-considered wars.

70sEraVet

(3,716 posts)
52. I was curious about the oath I took back in summer of 1973. Looked it up.
Tue May 21, 2024, 08:51 PM
May 21

"I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God)."
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces_oath_of_enlistment

I was not anywhere near Vietnam. I joined for 3 meals a day, and I joined the Navy, figuring that would keep me out of jungles.
Looking back on that oath, aside from the two World Wars, its hard to justify the 'conflicts' we've been in, as 'defending the Constitution'.

I am sorry about your brother. Sounds like a good, decent man, who was smart enough to see things that took the rest of us a lifetime to learn.

marble falls

(59,532 posts)
59. I enlisted purely so my dad couldn't shut me up at the dinner table over the war because I didn't know anything ...
Wed May 22, 2024, 12:09 AM
May 22

... because I never served. And because there was some thought among SDS/Weathermen that we needed to infiltrate. Terrible reasons. Though some antiwar Navy personel "mined" a harbor in Maine with beach balls after Nixon mined Haiphong at May 72 and sank a French freighter.

Permanut

(5,944 posts)
60. Navy vet here..
Wed May 22, 2024, 01:01 AM
May 22

Vietnam era, but never went there. Two friends did go, and didn't come back. Their names are on the wall.

I think about them often, as you do with your brother..

It's important to remember; thanks for the post.

musclecar6

(1,709 posts)
61. You brother
Wed May 22, 2024, 10:36 AM
May 22

Is right. You were a victim. Thank you for your courageous service. I enlisted in 66 in the Air Force as I was going to get drafted but more importantly I came from a small town to Connecticut and had a sense of patriotism as our country was at war and it was the right thing to do. I enlisted for four years got a seven month early out in 69 as things were winding down a little bit over there and they didn’t need as many like me in the service in my career field, procurement.

I never went to southeast asia and was stationed stateside in California for most of my service except training. When you were a young person, you don’t know what the fuck is going on in regards to things like war and you rely on the older experienced leaders to steer you correctly. In fact, many of them were just a bunch of dumb fucks that don’t know what the hell they’re doing except maybe lining their pockets or for other stupid ass reasons. As you get a few miles on you, you start to figure these assholes out and that hopefully has an effect on who you vote for.

Vietnam war was a cluster fuck and should never have happened. We had to get involved in World War II along with everybody else to stop that evil son of a bitch Hitler. Unfortunately we didn’t learn our lesson and we now have a guy now who is every bit as evil and we have half of this country that are so fucking stupid they’re gonna vote for him. Go figure. We are talking about Vietnam and that guy who dreamed up the bone spurs and then called those who went to serve suckers and losers. How in the world anybody could vote for him especially since he mounted an insurrection against our country, is completely beyond me.

AloeVera

(1,315 posts)
62. Beautifully said.
Mon May 27, 2024, 07:39 AM
May 27

I am so sorry for your loss.

I just read your post and wanted to let you know it really touched me. Profound and heartbreaking.

I wish you peace, Dan.

AloeVera

(1,315 posts)
64. Me too.
Mon May 27, 2024, 08:09 AM
May 27

You are on a journey, a period of self-reflection and questioning. It seems that way to me, at least. I like the "New Dan", gentler and kinder. Your brother's story, as tragic as it is, is also uplifting, for he lived true to his values. His wisdom lives on and is intertwined with who you are.

I am so glad we have come to where we can connect from our common humanity. Looking back, we can say we've come a long way, baby!

MarineCombatEngineer

(12,917 posts)
66. Sorry for the late, late answer,
Fri May 31, 2024, 04:47 PM
May 31

but you are right, I'm on a journey reflecting on my life and the things I've done.
I've lived my life to the best of my ability, I know now that I've been on the wrong side of history of some events.

In case you haven't noticed, I've been avoiding the events going on in the I/P conflict, its just not worth it anymore and I've been posting a lot less lately.

Thank you for the kind words, it means more to me than you'll ever know and you're right, we've come a long way baby.


Nixie

(17,178 posts)
65. Sorry for your loss, MCE
Mon May 27, 2024, 08:53 AM
May 27

Thank you for your service.

One of the most common things said by veterans of actual combat is that they wound up fighting for the guy next to them. That brotherhood kept them going when nothing else made sense.

Your brother was very wise about Vietnam.

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