Friday 20 Feb 1970,0430

001Funny trinkets…and memories,although not so funny.

The items in the photo are from a past-mine,and are huge pieces of my history. The cross was given to me the day I was inducted in the United States Navy by the volunteers of the Red Cross who handed these icons of our faith-the Jewish enlistees received a Star of David-and these little crosses to the Christians. I still have mine. The stone is a different piece from a later time-shortly after my brother Frank died. I drove from Florida up the east coast and returning down through the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had come across a section of the Appalachian Trail-and parked to hike up the ridge a few miles. I found a spot and was overcome with a strong sense to pray…and weep,and God in the amazing things God does had a bagpipe player off in the distance-playing Amazing Grace. It was too much for my feeble human mind to take in and again I fell on my face to pray. I found this round stone there in front of my face-and kept it.

The tiny angel came to me also at a surprising moment of time-crazy small symbols of the Spirit saying-I am here!

My brother Frank was my Cain. Although he personally did not murder me…my brother facilitated the event that placed me in a detention barracks..barracks D. There I was raped. The only wish I have is that they would have killed me then-they might as well have-my attackers.

I’m struggling with the anniversary that has just passed. I was flabbergasted to notice that February 20 1970 was a Friday…this February 20th was a Friday too… 39 years ago at 0430 in the morning I was awakened with a few other men in barracks D and with out notice we were led around the Naval Station where the building that contained barracks D was-we were first led to a huge warehouse that had several mounds of civilian clothes. We were ordered to strip out of our US Navy uniforms-ours were the denim work uniforms with the big yellow ‘SID’ marked on the back. Sailor in Detention,and told to find some ‘civvies’ that would fit us.

There were other stops that morning-we were led through several other buildings to sign papers,as it turns out-our separation papers. Before 0700 came we were at the main gate and given a lecture-don’t ever come back,that is what we were told-then our discharge papers and travel pay was handed to us. It was over.

This Friday-February 20th was unusually,or am I wrong-was it another (yes) Spiritual guided memory and event…I do not know how to explain. My brother Franks first wife was here to visit. I had not seen her since some time in the early 1980’s. Prior to that…it was 1969.

It must have been Spiritually orchestrated…this past Friday,it must have been! Bernice (my former sister in law,now my sister by relation to God) is the only living actual witness to my time in the Navy…my time at barracks D. She is the only living witness that I have that knew. She was not there in the barracks D-she did not see the torture that I went through there-she did not see the actual rapes,but-she knew.

The ‘Survivors Art Exhibit’ is coming up soon. This year it is in May,and again I am going through the task of distributing the flyer’s that call the artists to present their art. I had made arrangements to meet the coordinator of the event in a small town near by. I had also taken Bernice and her husband to tour the small town-a historic little town. Also the town (Micanopy) that I had come to and found my angels in just months after my discharge.

 The coordinator was there-she was also my main witness last year when I went before the VA judge to present my case-the facts that I was raped during my time at barracks D. It was very emotional to me for these two ladies to meet, although the tears had to come later-and not in front of them.

Friday night I sat here in my room-darkened room. I sat and stared out through the French doors in my bedroom into the night-looking at the sliver of the moon and wondered if the moon was also in the same phase then in 1970 as it is now. I suppose it must have been…then the tears came. How much it meant to me-seeing Bernice and knowing she had been the only one all along that knew and was my only living connection. That was not my only reason for the tears….all that has been lost because of the events of 1970,then-and through my entire adult life.

Rape is not a gentle crime. The sexual assault label it carries tends to soften the real blow and impact it grieves the victim with…forever! The real truth is-it is such a damaging crime.

My family never knew the story of barracks D as I have always known it. My father never asked me about any of  it-he only knew my brothers side of the story…the part that I failed in my military duty. I lived all this time with them knowing a lie-never knowing my truth. Dad died last year (2007) and never saw the pages of the Judges summation of his decision-and my case…the VA Judge noted on the last of the many pages-NO WRONGDOING.

He also noted that I suffer-yet! Suffer? Yes….deeply deeply suffer,even still-even today. They know my suffering as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)….but there is no true way to understand the suffering I really experience. The losses….they will always be-lost.

I was ‘freed’ on Friday February 1970…but yet I am still locked in barracks D and will always be confined there. The memories-this morning,no different-the memories arise with me as I awake,they are as immediate as the sun coming through the French doors waking me. My mental state goes into automatic-an inventory is done with in seconds of my awaking…an inventory of what had happened and what has been lost.

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One Response to “Friday 20 Feb 1970,0430”

  1. B.J. Says:

    Sounds like you had a good visit with my Mum. She e-mailed and said she met Debbie. Mum also sent some pics she had taken while there. The kids are just too cute. Are you sure the last time you saw Mum before 1980 was 1969? I remember seeing you at Granny Jo and Grandad’s in Maryland before 1980 when I was maybe 6 or 7. You came in, and Mum told me, “This is your Uncle, Jay.” You had short hair and looked ‘decent’. At that time, I was more familiar with Uncle Joe. One of these days, I’ll have to scan and forward that photo Mum took of us when we lived in Norfolk, and you came to visit. I was 9 or 10 months old; you were 17. It’s historical as you had no tattoos. I’m glad you guys had a good visit.

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