Sunday, June 30, 2013

We've Only Just Begun-Vietnam Version

"We're Only Just Begun"
Written by Paul Williams and Roger S. Nichols
Performed by The Carpenters

We've only just begun to live,
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way.
We've just begun.

Before the rising sun we fly,
So many roads to choose
We start out walking and learn to run.
And yes, we’ve just begun.

Sharing horizons that are new to us,
Watching the signs along the way,
Talking it over just the two of us,
Working together day to day

And when the evening comes we smile,
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin' it over, just the two of us
Workin' together day to day, together, together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun.

I keep an assortment of cd’s in my car for when I’m on a long trip or when there is nothing interesting on the radio. There’s only so much talk radio that is not the same topic over and over. A lot of them are various mixes I have made depending on the mood I was in at the time.

The one I put in today started out with Gerry and the Pacemakers then moved into Berlin and ended with a sampling of The Carpenters.

It had been a strange week at work and the vast majority of clients were Vietnam Vets and it brought back a lot of memories that are usually held in check.

Somehow, when this song came on, rather than thinking of it as a love song (which it clearly is) , I began thinking about this as a history of a veterans tour in Vietnam and this is the way it turned out.

We’ve only just begun to live
-Many of the soldiers that went to Vietnam were young, 18-21 or so, just beginning their lives being out from under direction of their parents and to understand how to be on their own.

White lace and promises
-A lot of us had just gotten married or had recently attended Proms so lace was in abundance. Promises were made in our wedding ceremonies and other promises were made about writing every day and waiting for us to return. I hate to think about how many of those promises were broken for one reason or another. There were many of these promises broken by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong.

A kiss for luck and we are on our way
-A lot of us were seen off by our wives and families or a special girl that meant something extra special. I also know there were some folks who set off on the military journey alone. Not exactly the kind of kiss they would have wanted.

We’ve just begun
-We started our military journey and everyone who served is still on that journey, be they dead, alive or still fighting the war in their minds. No matter what anyone, including doctors and shrinks, tell you – it never goes away. There are times when it will rear its ugly head when we think it is totally buried.

Before the rising sun we fly
-Helicopters heading out for battle or to replenish the troops, flying Medevac’s to bring the wounded in for treatment, and giving support in any way they could. God bless the pilots for the job they did and the repair crews that kept them flying.

So many roads to choose
-It was hard to know were the enemy would show up. A road may be safe to travel one day and you could get shot up the next. Plus there are all the roads that were made beating the bushes of the jungles on patrol.

We start out walking and learn to run
-That just about says it all. You would be walking through the jungle until fighting starts and then running for cover. You always had to be on the lookout for booby traps on the trails as well. You couldn’t run blindly.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
-Vietnam and war were new to all of us and you never knew what was over the horizon. The Air Force and Navy found out a lot about the horizons.

Watching the signs along the way
-You constantly had to be looking for booby traps, punji pits, snakes and anything else that might cut your life short.

Talking it over just the two of us
-Most everybody I knew talked to God every day. Some of us had good friends to talk to, but just as many were loners because the person beside you one day may be gone the next. God always had time to listen.

Working together day to day
-You worked as a team, unit, company or whatever. You couldn’t survive on your own. This was one place where “There is no “I” in TEAM” meant exactly that.

-There is no I in Team.

And when the evening comes we smile
-That meant we had made it through one more day and were a day closer to going home. There was not always much to smile about but making it through the day was a good one.

So much of life ahead
-For most of us this was true, one just has to see the Wall to know how untrue that turned out to be.

We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
-Many of us have found room to grow, to age gracefully and die peacefully. Others have taken their own lives because they felt there was nothing left, no room to grow or no reason to live. A lot of us are still trying to grow, to take it one day at a time and we owe a lot of it to our family, our friends, our brothers in arms, and our VA doctors who do the best they can with what they have to work with. Some VA facilities are better than others but I do think that they are trying.

And yes, we’ve just begun
-Now 40-50 years later we are still beginning to understand the effects of Agent Orange on our young bodies that waited until we got older to attack our bodies and have us fighting a war all over again. But this time we are losing more than we win.

Versus three and four repeat but I’m not going to do that. I do hope that this makes sense to some of you out there. I had to get it out of my system and felt like sharing.

If it’s too much for some of you on my friends list, you know where the “Unfriend” button is and likewise, if you want to share it with someone, please do, but be sure and give me credit. Copyright 2013 Barry R Hunter.

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