09 November 2005

In Honor of Our Veterans, Past and Present

Vietnam, Ia Drang valley, 14 - 16 November 1965:

"Playing dead was a way to die. It made no sense to me. Our job was to hold that position and kill the enemy," Eade said. "I had this thing in my mind, part of the U.S. Army's General Orders and the soldier's code you learn in boot camp: 'I will never forget I am an American fighting man. I will never surrender of my own free will. I will continue to resist to the utmost of my ability. I will not leave my post until properly relieved." Eade said he kept repeating it himself.

"I don't think it was unique to me," Eade said, citing the actions of men like Barker and Johnson. Eade said his seemingly hopeless position was made easier by his belief, established weeks earlier after several men in the unit were killed in other actions, that he would not be leaving Vietnam alive. What Eade says about that may sound familiar to other veterans of combat.

"It wasn't a matter of living or dying. It was taking care of each other and doing your duty. The anticipation of a future is what you give up. The question was not, 'Am I going to die?' We all know the answer to that. The question was, 'How am I going to die? I am going to die well.'"

Read the rest of this important and timely article by Jules Crittenden over at the Mudville Gazette.

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