hazardous duty

I carried the caskets.  I folded the flags and handed them to mothers and fathers.  I stood surrounded by rage and grief, and a lot of it was directed at my person, at the uniform I wore.

When the family found out I’d been in Vietnam, they’d cluster around and ask questions; “what was it like over there?”  But in their faces and eyes I saw a desperate need to know if their son’s death had meant something – if the war effort had been worthy of his death.

In my heart I knew their son didn’t die for “freedom” or “democracy,” but for power and profit.  Face to face with a grieving family, how could I say something like that?


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