Shall we have war or peace? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I find you have to truly understand the horrors and ills of war's past to fully embrace peace. I write as one who has been there/done that. The song "One Tin Soldier," by Billy Jack, can be found at:

I invite you to visit my, “Vietnam Picture tour,” from the lens and poet's pen of a combat infantryman. Take a walk through "the park" with the 1st Air Cavalry on combat patrol.

I served with B Company 2nd/7th 1st Air Cavalry '66 - '67, as a combat infantryman operating out of LZ Betty near Phan thiet in Vietnam's Central Highlands. My goal in writing today is to educate people who have no idea of the realities and atrocities of war...with the desire to promote peace. I wish the horror stories of what happened there to never die. I want them to live on in the telling and retelling...rubbing people's faces in the horror vested on a generation, until they become a firmly established part of our that we may understand this should never happen again.

I am a Vietnam poet, working in multi- media with the Internet, using colorful backgrounds, and haunting music that many veterans say reveal the anguished smell and textures and feel of war in Vietnam.

I was the sports editor of my college daily newspaper (BYU's Daily Universe) when I was drafted...and like so many others, Nam changed the direction of my life indelibly and forever. Nam imbedded my soul with a new set of senses...forever.

Many veterans have written me saying that for the first time in 33 years they read exactly what they felt, and for the first time they were able to sit down in front of the computer with their families and show them what war was like for them. School teachers have written me saying they think my "tour," should be required viewing for their students.

I wrote this poetry because all the people of the world continually need to understand how important an event war is. War will always be a determining factor of not only who we are, but will determine our very futures, as well as the futures of our wives and children. I sincerely hope we will not doom our children to fight senseless battles as did we, shackling them to similar fates suffered by their fathers in the latest in a series of "war-to-end-all-wars!" If we do not learn the history of war, learning there is no glory in war...only death, destruction of values and misery, then we are doomed to repeat it!

And the next war will inexorably come!

Sometimes war is a necessary evil...sometimes not...sometimes there's Vietnam! My fervent wish is that there be peace evermore, and war-no- more!

Vietnam combat vets have a lot of baggage they need to contend with, depending on how much blood they got on their hands...and how much of it was their enemies, their buddies, or their own. Combat Veterans of the Nam may or may not have been wounded physically, but have deep emotional, ethical and psychological scars. Most were just young boys who were like I was, gung-ho naive. We patriotically answered our countries call, and were made to kill and suffer killing, ravaged with the aftermath of learning hatreds and fearing, the skills of killing, Agent Orange and ptsd effecting many "boys next door" with life threatening maladies that still are a vital part of our lives today. I also have been exposed, numerous times, to that chemical miracle wonder that causes birth defects, cancers, diabetes, liver, heart and kidney problems....

There needs to be understanding, love and healing. Our nation must learn there is a better way to solve disputes. These are but some of my poems...I ask you to please read them before you judge:

"A Combat Soldiers Prayer,"

"My Thousand Yard Stare,"

“I Felt I’d Died,”

“Soldiers Of The Wall,”

“A Soldier’s Seven guardian Angels,”

"A Soldier’s Legacy,"


“Just Before The Battle Mother,”

“i’m no hero,”

-- Gary Jacobson (, December 12, 2000


Hmm, interesting point of view.

I have to agree that war is terrible, but you have to realize that war will always be with us. As long as there is sin the world people will bicker and argue and take up arms against each other. Sin is something that will never go away until the second comming of Christ, so can war be avoided.

Yet, I don't think we should embrace war with open arms, nor should we simply accept it. There are wars that should never have been fought and there are wars that I would have gladly fought in. Where would we be if the world had not fought against Hitler in WW2. But you are right in that, some wars like Nam should not have been fought. I am not up on my modern wars as much as those of the Middle ages, but even then you had what you could call "holy wars" and those that stemed out of a sinful greedy nature.

Just thought I would throw in my opinion on war. I look forward to hearing your ideas on this.

-- The Northern Blacksmith (, December 12, 2000.

I took the tour. I've always loved to look at other people's pictures. I enjoyed, for lack of a better word considering the subject matter, these also. I'm glad I wasn't there! And I appreciate your presence there. I wish you wouldn't have been subjected to such awful violence that you and the others that served are still thinking about it. Wars such as Viet Nam seem such a waste of life. I'm glad you survived.

I don't have any poignant or deep thoughts to post about war, but hope there wont be anymore. I agree with the post above that it is just man's nature to argue and fight it out. I can still hope. It is good to be reminded how awful war is, but the truth is the people who make these decisions won't personally be involved. What I am saying is it wont personally affect them. So unfortunately it will be a matter of time and history will repeat itself.

I was just discussing my response with my husband and he says if the people who make these decisions would be told that if they approved such a thing that they and their family would have to immediately move to the front and participate, then such a decision wouldn't be made.

I appreciate all the effort put onto your site. Thanks.

-- Denise (, December 12, 2000.

There will only be war until there exists the time that everyone can look beyond the hate and seeking of revenge, and find compassion instead. This is what my religion, and way of life teaches me, and I try my best to live by it. Hate, violence, bigotry, and murder only propagate more "evil" , look beyond these things, and seek compassion and empathy instead. There exists true peace on Earth. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 12, 2000.

Gary, First of all welcome home and thank you. As the wife and the daughter of Nam Vets I have an inkling of what you are saying although, not having gone myself, I cannot truly know. I can attest, however, to the "baggage" many brought home. My husband's circle of friends was mostly Nam vets so I learned first-hand the things they have dealt with since coming home. Medical problems, PTSD, suicide just touches the surface. I think the general public has no idea of the true "cost" of this war in the lives of the men who fought it and their families. I will be sure to mention your website to hubby as he enjoys sharing stories. Thankfully, hubby has been able to move beyond most of his experience and get on with his life although it still pops up here and there because, of course, it is a part of his being and something he can never forget. He no longer suffers from flashbacks and rages and life has become much more settled for us. Living the homestead life has helped him find contentment. I hope we, as a country, never fight a war which is not ours to fight. I sometimes think it should be a requirement that every politician, i.e. Congressman, who votes to enter us in a war should be required to send one of their own sons to the front lines. Maybe it would make them think twice. Thank you for helping to show others what the Vietnam war was about. We need to educate everyone.

-- Colleen (, December 13, 2000.

But that's just the point Annie. You said, "There will only be war until there exists the time that everyone can look beyond the hate and seeking of revenge, and find compassion instead." That sounds fine in the saying, but forgive me, but it is only really saying, "There will be war until there isn't." I was in nam as a combat draft notice told me we were sent by my neighbors...and I want to thank those neighbors (chuckle). Also though, I was sent by the social, political and even religious communities. I don't know how many times I was told I was going to fight for God and country...and that our constitution and leaders are inspired by their decisions must be just.

And you have never seen such hate until you have been in war. My fellows called the Vietnamese gooks, and that was just when they were being kind. Direct quote from a colonel, "When you start thinking of the enemy as human, you have committed suicide."

I had just come from working as a church representative for my church, and from love thy neighbor to kill your neighbor is a long leap. We were forced in war to do many thinbgs that were against God's greatest commandment, and I think that is why there are so many vets messed up right now. Our value systems were just turned upside down, and then tromped on.

Now I can see fighting against a madman like Hitler, who had to be stopped. Even today I would stand to stop men like him...but Vietnam...that was a total travesty. And it went on for a decade. The government we were fighting to defend was ten times more corrupt than the government we were fighting. Our corporations didn't want to see the war end because they were making billions of dollars on canteens, jungle boots, bullets, body bags...and the list goes on. So they pulled the appropriate strings that wouldn't let us win, but go on year after year with mnore and more of the flower of American youth being killed. Most who fought there thought that war could have been over in a couple of weeks if the powers that be untied our hands and told us to go out and win it.

-- Gary Jacobson (, December 13, 2000.

Gary, you said you had just finished being a representative for the church. I wondered about that. Were you a missionary and just returned to school or did you not get to finish your time as a missionary? How did the church have any missionaries at all during that time since they would have all been of draft age? Just wondering?

-- Denise (, December 14, 2000.

Gary, that is one powerful site you have. Well done! Your poetry is excellent, but far too rich to take in all at once...digs up too many bones, if you know what I mean. I was a Slick driver in the Central Highlands in '68-'69. It was always an eerie feeling to drop you guys into a hot lz and wonder how you were making out. Glad you made it, and thanks for sharing your message with us. Dan G. Stagecoach 17

-- Dan G. (, December 14, 2000.

I didn't think they drafted guys out of college.

-- Joe (, December 14, 2000.

Just to clear up a few things about that era;

Not everyone was drafted as soon as they became eligible. They used a lottery system, and if your number didn't come up you didn't get a letter.

Not everybody in college was there to avoid the draft. Many never applied for the exemption and were drafted from college.

Not everyone who went to Nam were involved in intensive combat. For those that were, learning to hate was a very easy and quick thing. Learning to love again was a far slower and more difficult process...impossible for some.

-- Dan G/N Fl (, December 15, 2000.

I was an ordained minister sent to England to help with the organization of the church there, and from a world of peace and love your neighbor, returned to America and enrolled in College. Because I was putting myself through school, and it's not cheap, after two semesters I dropped out to replenish the old pocketbook, that I might renew my scholastic life. I was drafted before I could even build up any good blisters doing construction work.

The biggest shock I got in Vietnam was the complete reversal of values. Everything...I mean everything I had been taught for my life up until that time was turned upside down.

It was a long while before I could see the beauty that was apparent there to someone who didn't spend all of his days hiding from the bullet with his name on it, killing out of self defense, or fearing of being killed. Check out:

-- Gary Jacobson (, December 15, 2000.

Just a note that may interest you... Next Saturday Firebase Network is going to have me take up their entire "Veteran's Hour," at 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time to read some of my poetry and maybe answer call in's...this is a worldwide program beamed from satellite...sounds fun.

I was truly humbled when Rick Townsend, whose show it is, tells me "Because you are such an outstanding poet you will be given the whole hour. You have carte blanche to read any of your poems you want on the program, Christmas in a Foxhole is a must. As this is a program dedicated to our Veterans, "The Veteran" would be greatly appreciated by the audience. Some other poems that brought a tear to my eye were "A Soldier's Prayer", "The Bonny Red, White and Blue", and "Once". If you have any favorites I would appreciate it if you would tell me...

That's this Saturday, starting at 3 pm mountain standard time. We here have to listen on computer. They have a network of radio stations all over the world, but the closest is in California, or Colorado, and I doubt we could pick up the signal. It would be great if you could listen in brothers, and pass this on to your friends who may be interested.

Call in Number is 800-259-9231 check this website to see if you can pick up a Genesis affiliate station.

Brothers and sisters, here's hoping you have a great Christmas... Gary

-- Gary Jacobson (, December 19, 2000.

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