Saturday, October 06, 2007


(The one in Heber Springs,
not the one in Chicago)

Let’s build a memorial from victory, and not merely from ditch-digging

Guest column / by Neville Martin

As both a military veteran and curious American, I hailed a cab on a dreary day in Washington DC, to see the much talked about Vietnam War Memorial, which was still in the process of being built.

Soon the cab driver pulled to the curb, collected the fare, and pointing to an empty open field said “it’s over there! Just walk into the field and you’ll find it.” In the drizzle and chill, I began trekking across the field; I was still puzzled until it came into view. But, that’s not a wall, that’s a ditch in a field with a wall built into the side of the ditch.

The Vietnam memorial was being built in remembrance to those who lost their lives in that war. The design of this memorial with the names engraved is very emotional and tearful. There is a ramp going down into the ditch with only a few names on the wall. With every step, more names and more names with each step. Then you are at the bottom of the ditch among rolls of names over your head. You are in a quagmire of tears and emotion.

As you make your way across the names to the upward ramp, the heaviness begins to lift.
When you are finally out, you look back at the tears and anguish you just walked through and realize the wall is not just a symbol of honor but a symbol of the dishonor to the politicians that dug the ditch and took our nation through that quagmire.

We lost honor as a nation but gained military leadership as to how not to conduct war in the future.

The question is have we learned our lesson? Some 40 years have passed, we are now engaged in another war, a different war. This enemy does not wear a uniform and he wants to kill us. This enemy kills by remote control. He kills himself and his own just to create carnage. He kills just to kill. This enemy comes from the past to keep us from the future.

Much of our warrior force fighting this war are from close to home - the reserve and
National Guard. When someone dies or is wounded, it’s not just a soldier or marine from someplace else. It’s your National Guard neighbor, your reservist brother or your son.

The parasitic politicians that rose this nation against this enemy, that voted for this war, that funded this war are now digging the ditch, looking for a way out while giving themselves a pay raise. A pay raise and digging is more important than supporting, funding and winning. Political advantage is more important than victory.

Without victory this war just may last another year, five years, 10 or even 20 years. To win this war is our only option. Our politicians are copying what didn’t work 40 years ago. They are digging a memorial to defeat.

We as Americans all are soldiers in this war. We are the Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Fathers and Mothers of the Guardsmen and Reservists. The warriors fighting this war are us.

Recently I witnessed a man stand in front of a church congregation to make an announcement. With a tear in his eye and a lump in his throat he proudly announced that his eldest son, who had recently graduated from high school, had just enlisted in the Marine Corps.

This announcement was met with an immediate long applause.

The memorial for this war will come; let us pray that it’s not another ditch in a field. Let us build a memorial that we can look up to and proudly salute. Let us build a memorial from victory and not ditch-digging.

Neville Martin is a veteran who hails from Searcy


Tom Pry

Meet Elizabeth Rash from over between Bradford and Bald Knob. When, as a high school senior, she worked with us at the Searcy Sun/Bald Knob Banner.

I always called her my Marine Munchkin. All 5'2 or 3" of her, in a petite package.

She enlisted back in the spring, before graduation, and left for basic immedikately afterwards, this AFTER taking several weekends at "Are you sure?" orientation and physical tests.

The odds are that, one of these days, she's going to end up in the middle east. May the use the government makes of her result in a better end than Viet Nam.


Post a Comment

<< Home