Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Apparently I'm supposed to be disappointed

We just had our local Summer festival in the Seattle area.  It's a rather large celebration called Seafair.  I can't think of an August in my life that didn't have something to do with Seafair.  Whether it was parades, hydroplane races on the lake or the Blue's always a good time.  I'd like to add that it is the ONLY festival held in Seattle where you can almost always count on good weather.

Then we had the budget sequestration.  You know, those crazy and irresponsible cuts that stopped funding to all of your favorite things.  In the case of Seafair the community was rocked that the Blue Angels were not coming

Everyone cursed the budget cuts.  How can they cut the Blue Angels and ruin our Seafair celebration?  The media almost begged the community to make attendance low so that everyone knew just how disappointed we were.

The Seafair organizers needed to arrange a replacement.  They learned from a mistake from year's past that we love our jet planes and while we're impressed that Canadians know how to fly...they're just too polite when it comes to our hunger for the roar of American fighter jets.

So Seafair brought in the Patriots Flying Team to entertain the crowd that gathered to watch the Unlimited Hydroplane races on Lake Washington.  Nobody seemed that happy about it.  Were they not as talented as the beloved Blue Angels?  Well according to their bio, many of their pilots are former Blue Angels.

So if I'm to understand my local media...I'm supposed to be unhappy that a private jet team with its own sponsors entertained us for a fee paid by Seafair...and nobody else in the country had to pay the Navy to entertain Seattleites on a sunny afternoon...all while trying to convince us that joining the US Navy is cool.

I'm not sure why the notion of paying for your own stuff is so scandalous.

But now that Seafair 2013 is over the Seattle Times is upset that there is funding for free and reduced lunches but there just aren't enough kids taking advantage of it.  Seattle is certainly not where the term TANSTAAFL came from.

You got off lucky this year America.  We'll be back for your money next year and don't expect a thank you from us while we're gazing up at the sky in amazement of raw American war power.  We are entitled.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Return to Viet Nam: One Veteran’s Journey of Healing

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a wonderful travel writer, Linda Myers for several years.  When our paths crossed recently we talked about our different writing projects and she made me aware of a book she recently completed with her husband Art.  I always want to read (or try to read) the books of people I know so I asked her to make a copy available for me.  In a couple of weeks, a signed copy was hand delivered in exchange for a small picture of Andrew Jackson.
The book itself is exactly what the title promises:  The journey of healing for a Vietnam Veteran.  The veteran in this case is her husband Art who talks about his one official day of combat and how it has impacted every day of his life to this present day.  The telling of this story is gripping for a number of reasons.
return[1] The story is told in several voices.  Linda narrates the journey and allows other voices to slip in and support her accounting of what happened.  Linda’s chops as a writer who is experienced with telling travel stories shows. And because of this, the book is a fascinating and quick read.

Linda and Art returned to Vietnam with historian Dr. Steven Leibo and Dr. Ed Tick, a specialist in PTSD.

If you’re wanting to read about the horrors of war you may be disappointed.  Though there are descriptions of battle, this doesn’t read like a documentary on the History Channel’s greatest battles of Vietnam. 
Instead this book tells the real horrors of war that live on for years long after the bullets have stopped flying.  The real horrors of war are less sexy.  There are no medals, no tales of bravery, no giving one’s all for freedom and definitely no flag waving.  Instead this book talks about unexplainable anxiety, alcoholism, destroyed relationships, and feelings of hopelessness that come with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you know a hurting Veteran, I really want you to buy this book.  This is far more than a recommendation of a friend’s writing.  You may know a veteran (Vietnam or more recent) that has had a difficult time dealing with what happened while they were deployed.  This book may be a realization that there is hope beyond the meager resources of the local VA Hospital. 

I’m not sure those we elect to be in power will ever stop sending our young men and women into war, but it’s about time we realize that, for many, the war continues long after the so-called peace is declared.