Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

The Clueless and the Classless

Posted by fozzynok on 08/08/2009

I have the shared opinion that we are not a country at war. We are a country with a military at war. We have become a hyphenated, fractionalized, spoiled country full of people who have lost most if not all of their humanity and common decency. We have become a nation of people so overtly hostile and vindictive that it really does make me sometimes less that happy to even consider myself an American. We do not want to play games and compete anymore. Winning is no longer good enough… we must crush those who oppose us in the slightest way. I have had a few friends in my life who like me to them, can disagree and have opposing views and still keep each other as close as siblings. I count these people as blessings in my life. Some of them, I have not even talked to in years, but they are still there and would drop everything and run to my side if I needed them as I would do for them.

I have I have shared a lot of my son’s travels and experiences with people that I communicated with and have for quite a long time. I have been on several Internet discussion boards for over a decade. We all had some pretty heated discussions and could always come back together as a group and still be a group. There have been others come in and when they crossed the line, where set upon by both sides of the political spectrum in this same group and told when they had crossed the line with our group and that certain types of behavior and certain issues were out of bounds. They either “toed the line” and acted accordingly within the rules of the group or they were vilified and frankly run the hell off.

When my son was killed, I thought wrongly that these people could be human and that we really were all Americans and could feel the loss together. I announced my son’s death and within an hour the personal attacks had started. The comments about my son being a traitor to the constitution were there, comments about my son being a “Jew lover” who died for Israel and Zionists were there, the comments about IEDs killing conservatives almost exclusively and it being a “great thing” for America was mentioned. They called my son lots of things, inferred lots of things and flat out called his death directly my fault for raising someone who would go off to fight in a war for oil offshore. I was accused of course of getting rich and profiting off of my son’s death. All of this from people who I considered basically decent, fair minded people. I have recently gotten into a discussion and was told that the dead soldiers are luckier than those who come home. Needless to say, I have taken myself out of most of these boards and do not discuss things with hardly anyone anymore.

In the last few months with the election of President Barrak Obama, the tide has really seemed to change and the bitterness has really changed sides. It was mainly the left wing with the hurtful snarky comments for the first year, it seems that now, it is the right wing who has decided that there are no limits to the low level comments that they can hurl to shut up any dissent to their points of view. I actually had a local Patriot Guard member in a discussion label me an atheist tell me that “he had more respect for the Taliban that he had for me, and that he had escorted my son’s body so I need to just shut up, treat him with respect and go away”. I had people tell my wife “God had killed my son to bring her closer to him (God)”. I don’t get what has happened to my countrymen.

I’m not sure why this nation has turned out like this. I do fight with the dark shapes, the demons and the realizations like most men in this situation do. I have some degree of guilt that sometimes gets to be overwhelming some days, I have some degree of shame and I will always have these feelings. I built my son up to know the historical truths and the military histories of right and wrong things that we have done as a nation and as a species. It has been said that the victors write the history. I totally agree with this and have sought out as many views and observations from the opposing sides of conflicts. I have always questioned my children on their studies and it always turns them into better-rounded people who know that what is written is never the complete story and that there is always another side to consider.

I drove to Ft Benning with my old infantry buddy Don to welcome my son into the Infantry family. I got the experience and the honor of turning my son “blue” at Benning. I got the experience of watching he and his training brigade walk onto the parade ground and graduate from basic. Don helped him get his first 101st patch onto his uniform the day after graduation. We ate and walked around Columbus GA 100% completely alive and on a pride rush that is and always will be tough to beat. These highs are followed by some of the lowest lows when you are the one who felt so alive and back at Benning and breathed the same air you did as an 18 year old. Reliving the days of long ago when it was we who were the tough new soldiers. I do feel survivor’s guilt to a degree and shame for not fixing things in the world when we were young and ran the world.

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