Of Love and War: The Story of a 90-Year Old Veteran

August 09, 2019 3 min read

I’m 90 years old now, with none of the energy in my limbs that I had before and a ruined memory. Old age is strange; you have plenty of free time, but you know it’s running out. I can’t help but think back to when I was 30–strong and resolute. That was when I had the misfortune of fighting in the Vietnam War.

Of all my life experiences, ‘Nam taught me the most about life and how to live. If there were three words that could describe that war, they would be blood, fire, and death. I lost many friends in the time I spent in the Vietnamese jungles, and I don’t think I’ve recovered from the experience.

American troops were herded off to Vietnam in the 1960s to fight a war for reasons that didn’t matter to us. Some days there would be no fighting. Other days there was hardly a person left alive. We’d wait in ditches for hours to avoid the enemy. There was really no telling when we’d be ambushed.

With the attack on Maddox and the airbase at Pleiku, we lost all chances of getting back to America. Operation Rolling Thunder began soon afterward and our days were punctuated with explosions, gun discharges, and death. Bodies fell around us as we longed for home, crouched in trenches with tar on our faces. The American flag flashed on every uniform and flew high all around me yet; I longed for home.

That is, until Pinkville.

 

The media called it the Massacre at Songmy. The official name is My Lai Massacre. But we called it Pinkville—and I still remember how Pinkville ran red with blood.

When men are off fighting somebody else’s war for years (We’d been in Vietnam for four years now), things go south. Men lose their self-control and in frustration, become deranged. One platoon of soldiers, stationed at Pinkville did things just cannot describe. Despite my efforts to forget, I still remember one thing: the American flag, grey and red from ash and the blood of fallen civilians. As I walked past it, it moved ever so slightly. I lifted it to reveal a little, perhaps four years old, Vietnamese boy. He was scared, clutching to the stars-and-stripes desperately. I tried to pull it from him, but he wouldn’t let go. And then I heard troops coming in our direction—and covered the boy with the flag again.

They ignored me, a lone soldier standing beside a fallen American flag, and went on with their order for the day. The symbolic significance of the life that the American flag had saved that day struck a chord. Freedom. Liberty. Equality. Justice for all. Standing up for the weak and the helpless—all that the American flag represented was plain and proper in front of me.

I did not rest until I had gotten the little boy to safety. I don’t know what happened to him afterward. If I went to Vietnam today, I wouldn’t know him. But I know that every June 14, when the flag is hoisted high, I look upon it and remember the greatest thing I’d ever done: save a life because that’s what this flag means to me. It means humanity.

About the Author

The author is a 90-year-old veteran who wishes to remain anonymous. If you’re looking for an American flag, find one at Federal Flags today. We also sell flagpoles, military flags, and more.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Subscribe

★ See Our Reviews

Real Reviews From Real People

427 reviews
93%
(399)
5%
(21)
2%
(7)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
Horrible

Flagpoles were subpar and with marking around the middle that with suggested cleaning methods, never worked. Had to get them powder coated. Worst customer service possible!

I would love to write a review but I haven't got my product yet when will I receive it

Craftsmamship

Beautiful finish on quality materials. My install is not typical. I previously made my own pole out of 1.5" steel pipe with welded brackets to bolt to the hand rail and joists on the corner of my deck. It served it's purpose but never looked nearly as nice as it does now. I simply made nylon bushings to fit tightly between the steel pipe and the 3" aluminum pole and slipped it over. So far the highest wind we've had was 47mph and this configuration didn't flex at all with the flag at top mast. The flag is thicker material than most, and again, top quality material and craftsmanship. The best part for me is that this is 100% made in the USA. The only piece of the kit I didn't use was the nylon flag clips. You can upgrade to snaps that won't clang against the pole in the wind. Customer service was quick to respond and great to talk with. I will unquestionably buy another one for my next home!

Hard to find someone to do the job properly ,but after two weeks we finally got it in.
It is awesome and my neighbors are jealous. A couple of them have the telescopic flags so I enjoy telling them that mine is bigger than yours!