Those of Valor….


a view at Dover AFB Delaware
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Valor.
Courage and boldness in battle. In latin-to be strong.

When I was a kid coming up in the 1950’s-we were taught that men in uniform are men to respect.
It was a bit confusing as a kid to think of woman being anything else but our mothers-but the fact is…woman have been in battles since the time of the first wars.
So valor is something a woman can have as equally as a man.
It became more confusing after my family moved to the Washington DC area.
There respect for our men and woman in battle should have been paramount to anything else-but what I learned there was the wrongs of Viet Nam and the unfairness war can be to those from lessor regions and lives.
How often my family would watch the evening news and we would see the daily dead from Viet Nam lined on the tarmac at Dover AFB where our fallen first come for thier journey home.
They would line the caskets up all flag draped as we see in this photograph and play the Navy hymn-a small ceromony would take place in respect.
(I am thankful for the person who took this photo-I apologize for using it with out your permission,I hope you will accept)

Then on television we would see the newest of the civil rights movement in Alabama and Mississipi…and you can surely understand the confusion of it all because when they showed those caskets they followed with the photos of the days fallen…there were black men and there were white men. It was a mixed up thing.
In one moment the news showed those young men-mostly boys in heart…and then we saw the blasts of fire hoses pushing human people away from trying to get respect for who they are….people of valor. I remember so vividly seeing the policemen from Montgomery with thier huge German Shepard dogs-the people being chased down in all directions and the white men beating the black people-woman or men…it did not seem to matter.
I was an odd contrast.
As kids we watched Vic Morrow (tv show-Combat) as tough old Sgt.Saunders fight off the nazis and relieve these poor peasant towns of the nazi scourge…the way those nazis kept people in order with thier German Shepard dogs. It seemed all the same…those policeman with thier vicious dogs chasing American people.

I’m a not a war person. I wish this one would end-I wish it never was….but it is happening just as I’m sitting here.
It’s different from then back during the Viet Nam days. Then when you were traveling where ever you were you saw uniforms of sailors and Marines and Army and all of military services everywhere. If you were at the airport today you would notice the difference if you had lived in the era I speak of.
And like I said-pictures like this were not hidden then like they are today. We don’t have a moment of silence on television for these young men and woman as we did back then…it is business as usual.
I wonder why?

When I was a teenager-I guess around age 15,my church youth group got in a van and drove to the District (for those who do not know-locals call DC the Distrcit) and found a place to park the van and we joined herds of people pressing towards the capital. There at the capital were hundreds and hundreds of people-blacks and whites all following Reverend Abernathey and others in a circle around that massive building. If my family knew my butt would have found reason-they would not have approved.
That day is one of my grandest memories-being a part of something so giant and purposeful…historic.
It just about kills me when I go to the convienience store in the small town near where I live and see the great grand sons-decendants of families that I know saw some of the hardest times as slaves and as share croppers and who saw nothing but work from daylight to twilight at thankless jobs and for thankless wages…and these kids hang at the store with thier left hand gripping the top of thier pants trying to hold them up and yet keep them low enough to see the designer underwear they have on-a ball cap propped sideways on the top of thier heads and expensive sport shoes that they keep untied and with a head empty of any of the idea of what it took thier grandparents and elders to earase the ‘step and fetch it’ (see Stepin’ Fetchit’ in www.imdb.com/search -he was an actor) images America had of African Americans and the battle for the right to merely stand around a store.
It is’nt just young black men…I see the sons of guys that we used to refer to as ‘rednecks’ down here in the south-born with cowboy boots on,and dressing like cartoon characters.

I don’t know where I’m going with this…its just that I can remember those days and those events-even as a boy our family panicked when Martin Luther King came to Washington DC and gave that famous speech…I have a dream! The African American community moved to the great Reflecting Pool between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial and set up a town-Reserection City….for freedom. My grandparents were sure the nation would be over run with ….well,my grandparents had such a terrible bigoted name for people-they were scared.
This whole thing today….the young men standing there gripping the waist of thier pants-just like we tried to look oddly to those who saw us when we became hippies-but we had a movement,and we went into battle for what was right and against what was wrong-
It should bother a lot of us.
I aint into this war-theres not much of any one who I know has a fever for it….but I think its sad we don’t see those of valor and respect them the way they should be.

There is a medal for men and woman who achieve valor in the battlefield-those who go an additional five steps when the going is so tremendously bad…those who are considered heros because of the bravery they showed for aiding thier fellow soldier before thinking of themself.
But – every man and woman we have in the armed forces deserve more than what we show them lately….
They are people of Valor.

3 Responses to “Those of Valor….”

  1. Sherrye Clark Says:

    Hi, ran across your blog/article. Wanted to make you aware of a site/message board called vetwow.com
    stands for WomenOrganizingWomen, survivors of MST. Thanks to brave men like you, we now have many men on the mrvetwow site. We are roughly 1000 members strong. Working together as survivors, not just victims. To educate, to live, to relate, to heal. thought you might help and be helped there. I think I survived in order to help educate.
    hope to see you there. I am the moderator of the vetwowC board. but not involved at all on the men’s message board. Honor and praise for your bravery in being wiling to speak out and educate.
    sincerely, Sherrye Clark

  2. Barbara Says:

    Wow, I am so glad I found your blog…its wonderful, real and important. I am a survivor too and am currently training to be certified as a sexual assault victim advocate – just last night our class was about male survivors. I hope you don’t mind if I add you to my links.

  3. jayherron Says:

    please…use my blog on your links-the information needs to be opened to as many as can learn about it.
    Thank you Barbara

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