Young 18 yr Old Marine At American Legion Post

The year was 1972, I was asked by a friend of mine to go with him to his brother's house in a small town called Hermosa Beach in northern California. Didn't really want to go at the time. He was a re-enlistee. A Viet nam Vet we called him the old man because he was 32yrs old. It was a hot August day then. I thought I would have a good time that day and get away for a while. I remember he had something that he had to do so I went to the American Legion Post. I was sitting there talking to the other Vets at the bar, they let me drink because they knew I was on Active Duty, so they let me drink there. I remenber an old soldier asked me so you are in the service and I replied yes sir, he asked me what branch, I replied being a Marine with pride "yes sir I am a Marine. We started talking and then things started changing. There was an older woman who looked over at me and said yea big bad ass Marine your damn war doesn't mean a thing. Our war meant something. You guys kill women and children real bad ass aren't you. I remenber telling her, "lady no one wants to go to war and kill another human being. I am only doing as my country asks of me just like your country asked of you during World War II. Things went on like this for awhile, I don't remenber everything I said to her but I do remember the bar tender looking at me and saying John take it easy on her. I looked at the bar tender and said how can you let her talk to me like this, in a place like this. Not one Vet in the whole place ever came to my defense. I am turning into an old man now and I ponder over that day so many years ago. The young Vets nowadays are given the respect they deserve not like the Vets of Viet nam who served or didn't serve. Thank God things have changed. I just started going to the Memorial Day parades, and as I stand there I look over the horizon and I see over 58,000 soldiers looking back at me and waving some with tears in their eyes. Others cheering and saying thanks for remembering us. I walk away with a tear or two in my eyes wondering what those guys might of become in their lives had they lived. I hear them telling me to thank our young men and women in service to our country. I always make it a point to shake the hands of our service men and women, and to the  fellas over the horizon a wink comes and says a job well done. Thank God for the USMC. A former Sgt 2/5, 1st Marine Division and GOD BLESS AMERICA.

John Loftus

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