I was troubled by the guest commentary of professor Arnold Oliver. (When I was in Vietnam, I was no hero; Nov. 14, 2013). What bothered me was not so much his words: he says he was no hero and I believe him. He says he did not witness any heroism in his year in Vietnam and I guess I believe that too; although I suspect he was not looking very hard in that direction. What troubles me is Farm and Dairy chose to print this so close to Veterans Day.
It is well-known that in the halls of higher learning there is an effort to diminish those who comprise our military. I am not a highly educated man like the professor undoubtedly is, but if you want to define heroism let’s break it down to simple nuts and bolts.
For a person to be a hero, he has to be brave, and being brave in itself indicates overcoming a fear. My father, who was a World War II veteran, told of being “scared to death” at times when marching into combat. But he overcame his fear and pushed on. He told of being awake for two and a half days straight one time. When he was questioned skeptically about the strength to do that, he replied flatly, “It wasn’t strength, it was fear. We were all (speaking of his unit) too afraid to fall asleep.”
But he overcame his fear and pushed on. That makes him a hero. Fast forward to the present day and I will say what the majority of Americans think: If you have volunteered to protect and defend this country, you are a hero. Because you, on a daily basis, are overcoming the fears you have and are pushing forward. God bless you and your families.
Regarding the professor’s opening, about the evolution of Armistice Day to Veterans Day, I wonder if he finds the treatment of Christmas equally appalling.
Professor Arnold closes with a quote from Civil War General W.T. Sherman, “I confess without shame that I am tired and sick of war.”
Talk about taking a person’s life out of context, this is the same general who said, “War is cruelty. There’s no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”
The same general who, when asked how he intended to supply his army on its epic “March to the Sea” said, “The army will forage liberally on the country during the march.”
U.S. Grant and W.T. Sherman won that war because they were heroes, supported by heroes. I find it offensive that Arnold can even in the same breath compare his feelings with those of the esteemed General Sherman, when Arnold no doubt would have been complaining about the very things Sherman was doing to end the war.
If there is any group in this country that should be treated better than another, it is our veterans, for without them we would not be here.
North Lima, Ohio