The Oxnard Journal


& those who STILL SERVE

Things to ponder this upcoming Memorial Day, May 28th


They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect

repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress

bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine

tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks. The carried

standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets, and steel pots.

They carried the M-16 assault rifle. They carried trip flares and Claymore

mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-70 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's,

Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers,

the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of

silence. They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand

grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes.

Some carried napalm, CBU's, and large bombs; some risked their lives to

rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage.

Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive.

They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms, and leaches. They carried the

land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery,

pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried

love for people in the real world, and love for one another. And sometimes

they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'!"

They carried memories!

For the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of

dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people

squealed, or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning

sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God", and hugged the earth

and fired their weapons blindly, and cringed and begged for the noise to

stop, and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and

their parents, hoping not to die. They carried the traditions of the United

States military, and memories and images of those who served before them.

They carried grief, terror, longing, and their reputations.

They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor.

They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not

to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show

it. They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at

any moment. They carried the weight of the world, and the weight of every

free citizen of America.


Author Unknown

Remember them this Memorial Day May 28th