I am deviating from my normal weekly column message on Veterans Benefits to one of retrospect. I feel compelled to bring to the attention to the readers of The Island News the tremendous sacrifice of our military men and women and their families.
For those of us who wear or have worn the cloth of our wonderful country, we are frequently troubled by the lack of dedication of many citizens to the constitution and kindness, empathy, compassion, sacrifice, and our laws.
Americans are facing so many challenges like beating COVID, avoiding future wars like the disaster in Afghanistan (and before that Vietnam), reducing poverty, eliminating racial injustice, stamping out antisemitism, reducing the huge federal deficit, raising the education level, saving the environment, returning fact-based news to our media, increasing police funding and training, and so many others.
Americans today, can learn a great deal from the following definition and description of what our Marine and Army Infantry (and other military members) did in Vietnam and Afghanistan, which was first published in my book Blades of Thunder Book One in 2015.
I pray that reading the following definition will inspire more Americans to be kind, compassionate, understanding, patient, selfless, and dedicated to our constitution.
Definition of Marine and Army Infantry in Vietnam and Afghanistan
Enlisting, training, and learning. Deploying, landing, and assigning. Training, reconing, and patrolling. Sweating, hoping, wishing, and praying; planning, coordinating, following, and leading. Running, walking, and waiting. Flying, fearing, missing, repelling, and injuring. Anticipating; shaking, locking, and loading. Jumping, assaulting, shooting, and praying. Taking, and retaking the same territory over and over again.
Crawling, dehydrating, stinging, listening, scratching, and sneaking. Searching, attacking, and bayoneting. Resting, recuperating, firing, throwing, suffocating, slogging, mortaring, cursing, and swimming. Fainting, fumbling, cutting, lifting, and sliding. Climbing, observing, carrying, shelling, and loving. Crying, infiltrating, slogging, ambushing, searching, destroying, and praying. Yearning, coughing, craving, pacifying, and praying. Taking, and retaking the same territory over and over again.
Complaining, begging, blasting, smoking, resupplying, and fighting. Falling, swearing, drinking, directing, and blasting. Digging, building, tearing down, grieving, and yelling. Inserting, bleeding, reckoning, blessing, and extracting. Thanking, humping, wailing, winning, losing, and screaming. Vomiting, securing, slapping, pulling, observing, releasing, tapping, and shooting. Dragging, lacking, lobbing, loathing, hating, thirsting, and unchanging. Foaming, frothing, fortifying, fumbling, and praying.
Assaulting, evacuating, extracting, excruciating, advancing, and retreating. Wading, wobbling, running, wanting, washing, and never drying. Voiding, vomiting, mourning, exhilarating, and suppressing. Surprising, confusing, drenching, baking, bleeding, and praying. Taking, and retaking the same territory over and over again.
Digging, dogging, remembering, and forgetting. Breathing, blowing, surviving, wining, losing. Chilling, falling, peeing, dreaming, binging, and breaking. Worrying, wounding, hurting, and dying. Bloating, stinking, bagging, and draping.
Wailing, sobbing, saluting, honoring, folding, and presenting. Burying, suffering, mourning, grieving, and wondering why the U.S. does not learn the bloody lessons of foreign wars and the limits of military power.
If you do not understand what the verbs in the above definition mean, just ask any Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Coastguardsman. Each verb ending in “ing” above is a guide on how to be selfless.
The beginning of a new year is the time to commit to help our neighbors, listen before speaking, give more than we receive, adopt a child, stay away from outlandish social media claims, compromise by putting the whole before the parts, serve our great nation, practice politeness, apologize for rudeness and cruelty, be polite and respectful, fix problems-not blame, selflessly lead and follow, and support our troops-veterans and their families.
Let us go forth in 2022 with a fresh dedication to peace, health, and good will towards all.
Larry Dandridge is a retired Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army. He is a Vietnam War era wounded warrior, a combat and 100 percent disabled veteran, a former Infantryman, former Warrant Officer and pilot. Dandridge is also a past Veterans Service Officer, and a current volunteer Patient Adviser, CEO Advisory Council Member, and Patient and Family Advisory Committee Member at the RHJ VA Medical Center, as well as a published author and freelance writer. He can be reached at LDandridge@earthlink.net.