Two Score Years Ago
by Sgt. Barry E. Prowell USA Ret.


22 Squad Company A, 2/8 4th Infantry
Vietnam 68-69

On Oct 19, 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam my Armored Personnel Carrier was hit by two anti-tank rockets. One came through the side under my drivers seat and the other exploded in the periscopes beside my head. My life changed forever. A friend asked me to reflect upon those times and the pursuing years.

I think I saw men at their best and worst. The best, to me, will always be those I served with in combat. There are hundreds of adjectives I could use to describe them and the words all seem inadequate however one trait always comes to the front of my mind and that is Selflessness. Everyone was so concerned about everyone else that not even their own lives were important. You have everyone's back and they all have yours. Total commitment and dedication to those around you. I don't think I've experienced it since nor will again.

Forty years ago the category of "worst" would go to those who ran off to Canada rather than serve their country. I once considered those individuals traitors, spineless, cowards, yellow to the core and worth something lower than pond scum. However, forty years has mellowed me and the Lord has had more time to work on my heart so now I only consider them traitors, spineless, cowards, yellow to the core and worth something equal to pond scum.

I remember being hated and ridiculed for serving in Nam, mostly by Hippies. You remember Hippies. They gave us free love, do your own thing and the drug culture. Now one in every two marriages fail and every parentís nightmare is finding drugs in their kids room. Been there, done that. Young lives lost and ruined by drugs. Hell of a legacy they left us. I hope they are proud.

Forty years ago:

  • I never thought Iíd see the day when people would question my right to own a gun.
  • I never thought Iíd see the day when I have to get over the company property line to have a chew or a smoke.
  • I never thought Iíd see the day when crosses, Christmas trees and manger scenes were banned from government property.
  • I never thought Iíd see the day AGAIN when politicians were allowed to run a war rather than the military.
  • I never thought Iíd see the day when God wasnít allowed in public schools.
  • I never thought we would even need a constitutional amendment to prevent people from desecrating the flag. Rest assured though, with or without a law, anyone trying to do so in my presence will have to get to it over my dead body.
Let me clarify that by saying I donít think smoking is good for you and I donít believe you need a .50 cal machine gun to hunt deer. My point is, when the do gooders and the government start eliminating your personal choices they usually donít know when to stop. Beware..

For forty years Iíve never needed Memorial Day because, to me, every day is Memorial Day. I am ever thankful for those who ďlaid such a great sacrifice upon the alter of freedom.Ē

Knowing the cost, would I do it again? Absolutely because it was the right thing to do.


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Web Page Created 5 Dec 2009
©2009 Barry Prowell