Old Soldiers

I am in a old soldier feeling sorry for myself mood tonight. I got out of the hospital a few days ago. I got some new drugs from the VA. I was looking for a quote or song or something about vets and death or life. Mainly how tough it can be growing old. I have never been a civilian so I cannot say for them. At a young age my dream was the Army, and I got it. I turned 19 and 21 in nam.
After all the travel and adventure and crazy things, you realize one thing that the recruiter or other guys never mentioned. Maybe I should have discussed it with my step dad, or grandfather, but I never did.
I have an ongoing problem with my age, just like everyone else, almost. My problem though is not getting old really. It is the way I am getting old and my past.
I loved the army. I spent two tours in vietnam and almost 10 years in Germany. It can be boring a lot, it also takes time from family. But I loved it all from guard duty to laying in the fields in the fog trying to get a shot off, to cowering in bunkers hoping that they miss me. You get a certain rush out of it all that you do not forget. It effects you in a way nothing else does. The bad times fade away mostly, but the danger and thrill and your mission remain.
When I was 58, I got a job in Afghanistan as a contractor. My wife agreed because of money. I could have given a crap about the money. I was back in a war zone. It was not quite the same. I lived there for two years, not allowed to have a handgun, but you should have seen my knives. When attacked we had to go to the bunkers. We still had to put up with mortars and rockets and snipers, but it wasn’t quite the same thing. These days they have “rules of engagement”. That is a politically correct term to say you cannot fire when fired upon, unless higher up says it is ok. Kinda different from my war.
Anyway, I went because I missed something. I still do. For the life of me I do not know what it is. I always knew I would die in a battle somewhere, but I was wrong. I got old and am losing this battle in the worse way possible.
You cannot fight getting old and weak, it is a curse that creeps upon you when you least expect it. Bullet wounds and knife cuts heal up, but I came back from nam exposed to agent orange and got a defective heart and a pacemaker, arthritus, very weak ankles, the man plumbing stopped working years ago, and some really interesting nightmares that still come and go to this day. The body heals, not your head though. I am still better off than many of my brothers and sisters. I feel a little guilty about how it turned out. I came back with all my body parts and so many died and came home missing so much. I guess sometimes I feel like I should have done more somehow, or I got cheated. I know it is silly, but it is there.
You know what, I would still go back and do it again.
Outside of spiders, I have only one fear for myself. I am terrified of ending in an old folks home with shitty pants and no way to get out of it. When the time comes, I pray I have enough left in me to go off by myself to a place I love. The Chihuahua desert of Texas is beautiful.  And no, no matter how this all sounds, I am not looking to end it.  I figure sooner or later the Lord will take me at His pleasure.

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Published in: Uncategorized on June 9, 2014 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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