Leaving Home:

The next day after the gut-wrenching goodbye to my Grandfather my parents drove me to Conn. to my buddy and fellow Marines house in Strafford. The following day we would board a flight to San Diego California for jungle warfare training. When we arrived I grabbed my sea bag out of the trunk of my parentís car, hugged my folks and said not to worry, I was a Marine...I would be all right. My mother pleaded, wouldn't you like to come home and spend one more night, she was in tears and being held up by my Dad. I turned and said I love you, but one more day will not matter. I have to go...Sadly and in tears they drove away. My heart was broken. This was not the way I had pictured the moment. Parting is in no way sweet, and sorrow hurt like hell.

I had no Idea what was ahead. My Father and my Grandfather had some idea as to what War was like. I saw it in their eyes and they knew in their heart what I was in for. I had not stepped foot in Vietnam, yet I had experienced the heartbreak of war without firing a shot. Family's separated, hearts broken, Tears flowing and always expecting the worst. I cannot even imagine the hell they went through daily, waiting for the letter they hoped they would never receive from our Government. Grief flooded my soul, and I stopped to think.... This is only the first step of a long and dangerous journey. I had thirteen months to survive and dwell on the departing of my youth. I have never forgotten those moments where two simple words "Good bye" turned into an oxymoron. There was nothing good about it at all. The youth of our nation were saying goodbye every day now, Here at home...and in the rice paddies, hills and jungles of Vietnam. To many, it would be the last thing they heard, from their folks, or from the soldier holding them while they gasped for their last breath. In Vietnam good-bye took on a whole new meaning. From that moment on, it meant separation and death, and the absolute possibility of never hearing hello again. Life was starting to suck big time in the Nam.



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