Thursday, November 06, 2008

Back Burner War

Troops Sidelined For Election / War Back Burner Now

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD - A caller to a radio show said his father had ‘won’ the purple heart in Vietnam. Let me tell you something, folks. You don’t ‘win’ any fucking medals.

To win something implies pursuit or achievement, or something to be desired. Although a chest full of medals may be something somebody like a career officer may desire, most ordinary soldiers aren’t after medals. They are usually obtained in circumstances most people would prefer to avoid, and then, most accidentally.

Medals are ‘earned’, ‘awarded’, and ‘received’. They are not ‘won’.

Least of all medals to be desired is the purple heart, because as everybody knows, to receive the award, you’ve first got to be fucked up. It could be safe to say most people serving in a war zone would like to return to their families as an intact, fully-functioning human being. ‘Winning’ a purple heart is not something you wish for.

Although it read on paper
as heroic
That night as everything
became chaotic
they merely acted
as they were trained
and there was nothing heroic
in their foolish actions
or their hearts
full of fear.

- end