Markham: My father was a veteran, but I still wouldn’t have gone

Tue, 09/08/2009 - 3:40pm
By: Letters to the ...

Terry, exactly my point. Teach/learn to think for yourself. That’s why I referred to you as a wind-me-up soldier — you know, wind me up, point the direction you want me to go and, being disciplined and programmed, you’ve got a skilled weapon at your disposal.

You exhibit defensive posturing by choosing to blog on the “Free Speech” choice The Citizen offers instead of communicating directly with me. You have my email address. I’m seriously trying to reign in my cynicism, but you’re making it difficult.

I was delighted to read the vitriolic responses this afternoon (especially the ones that resorted to name-calling, etc.), not knowing anything more about me other than to come to your rescue as I predicted to Cal before the letter was published.

If it hadn’t been for your one-lined smug retort via email, I would have welcomed an open dialogue to discuss any problems you had with my letter directly to you, but because of your continued need for affirmation, you chose the public forum.

F.Y.I., My father fought valiantly in both World War II and the Korean War. Purple Hearts and other medals of valor adorned his office walls (C.W.O. retired Army, began his service as a 17-year-old Marine, second leatherneck to land on Guadalcanal in August 1942.) Plenty of documentations to back it up; his bullet-ridden body ended up back in Australia where, after recovery, he was assigned a Navajo code- talker and specialized in communications.

I took him in for home hospice a couple of years ago and, along with my wife helped him make the transition to the “other side.”

I even rode with the Patriot Guards, who so graciously offered their services to escort the funeral procession for McKoon funeral services in Newnan. Some of the finest and professional vets to be found anywhere. Buried with full military services, compliments of Ft. McPherson.

So I will continue my right to freedom of speech that so many Fayette County residents would like to deprive me of, given the opportunity.

Also, I can remember conversations with my dad about the Vietnam War when I was an anxious high school student who was lucky enough to be 361 in the draft lottery of ‘69. Even at that young age, when my father was directed to Vietnam and chose to retire because of the futility of the war, I was politically aware of the ramifications of being an accomplice and will proudly say that I would NOT have been used by our inept leadership (president and commander-in-chief) to fight that war. I didn’t run, just got lucky.

I have to say that I’ll be going to bed with the images of Kim Phuc and Xuan Minh haunting my restless sleep that I’ve been struggling with for years.

God loves all of his children, and I’m trying to love Him. Believe it or not.

David Markham

Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by PTC Observer on Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:01pm.

Just in case you haven't read my response to your earlier letter. Sleep well, there are those that are there to protect your freedoms. Including speech.


It is difficult for me to recall the war without it overtaking my senses and sensibilities. I served my country as a Corpsman attached to the Marines. I do not talk about my experiences and do not wish to do so here. Everyone that served has a story, told or untold.

All of those that served during this war, like all wars I suppose, did so imperfectly. Not all served with valor and bravery. Some did so with greater devotion and sacrifice than others. Some were simply killed outright and are now just a name on a cold black stone wall. However they all served. Whether they were drafted or volunteered they did their duty to their country, they did not shirk their responsibility to past generations. They did not run.

This is what makes them quite different than faint hearted souls like Mr. David Markham. Good for Mr. Markham, good that he had good men to serve, so he could be critical of those that did serve. It seems to me if there is one person in the world that is guilt ridden it is Mr. Markham.

Fear accentuates both the best and the worst in men and war if nothing else steels character for a lifetime. We can never go back and right the wrongs in life, war is not elegant, and it is not gilded with fine thinking and detached hyperbole like Mr. Markham’s.

There were cowards on the battlefield and cowards at home but the ones on the battlefield served their country by risking their lives.

I will never forget the fine young men that I knew, I will remember my fallen comrades every day for the rest of my life, and will never regret being called “doc”.

It is an honor to have served with such men.

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Thu, 09/10/2009 - 7:45pm.

Like you, I do not habitually discuss the experiences I encountered in my 2 1/2 yrs in RVN. And while I was a professional soldier (unlike Terry Garlock), my experiences were meaningful (most memorably getting blown up by an IED) but certainly nothing that causes me sleep problems today. And because I was a career soldier, I didn't really give a big rat's rear whether or not anyone welcomed me home. It's called "No regrets" (but I didn't volunteer for that 2d tour!)

Submitted by PTC Observer on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 8:09am.

Saw quite a lot of your kind of wounds, not good, or pretty. I know you know this, your lucky. We're both lucky. Hope you are fully recovered.

God Bless

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:01am.

Mr. Markham, I am a bit puzzled. If you did not want an open forum for your discussion, why then, did you not simply respond to Mr. Garlock in the first place? Instead, you sent an opinion piece to a public newspaper in which you participated in 'name calling'. After all, calling a veteran who honorably and proudly served his country a 'wind-me-up soldier' was hardly an olive branch and was highly disrespectful.

Further, I doubt that Mr. Garlock needed 'rescued' any more than he needed your 'forgiveness'.

Sleep well.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 7:31am.

No veteran in Fayette County,nor any place else of which I'm aware, would ever deprive you of any freedom preserved by men and women in uniform. Your father surely conveyed that to you over the years.

I agree with you on one thing though, you were lucky and you didn't run. From what you describe of your dad, he also was lucky and he did not run. Unfortunate in that he was hurt, but compared to the many who didn't survive Guadalcanal, Korea, etc even you would agree to his being more fortunate than others.

Going to bed with images of Kim Phuc or Xuan Minh? You, sir, were not there, so how is it that these two images cause reckless sleep? Having not experienced the smell of burning flesh, the numbing pain of personal loss, or the smell of cordite your experience is but the sum total of the documentaries you've watched or read. Your trouble with reckless sleep is but hyperbole.

Your dad proved his mettle, but given the same opportunity for you, we simply don't know, do we?

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 8:29am.

I have tried not to respond but I find myself coming back..

1st.. My Heartfelt THANKS to all the Veterans Both PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. These are the ones that PROTECT your Freedom of Speech Sir.

2nd.. Mr. Markham this is addressed specifically to you. Your missive reeks of elitism with a hint of snobbery. I do not know T. Garlock.. but he served.. It does not matter if he was a REMF or a Snake eater.. He still served.. and for that he gets my THANKS.

3rd.. I find it abhorrent that while young men and women were giving their lives for the Freedom you say you hold dear.. You actually stated :"I was politically aware of the ramifications of being an accomplice and will proudly say that I would NOT have been used by our inept leadership (president and commander-in-chief) to fight that war. I didn’t run, just got lucky."

You sir would rather let some other young AMERICAN go in your place.. just because you didn't "want to be used".. To me this speaks more about your Character then anything else you have said.

Sleep in Peace..For the defenders of your RIGHTS still fight.

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

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