1¾in America's Mind...
Part One: A Change of Mind Not a Change of Heart
(Caring Isn't Enough...Get Involved: a Personal Experience)
by Joni T.
I, like many these days, grew up during the Vietnam War era; and I, like many, virtually ignored the issue unless it managed somehow to rear it's ugly head and get directly in my face in some manner. I didn't protest the war, I didn't support the war...and I didn't actively abuse our fighting men when they returned from Vietnam...but in my own way I was just as guilty as those who did. I was guilty of ignoring the issues...a crime just as sure as the other forms of abuse they suffered.
Oh, I cared... I mean... I'm a caring person... always have been...but like so many of our time I did a lot of lip service about how wrong it was to treat our returning fighters that way, and later how wrong it was that our poor vets couldn't get help and satisfaction for the rightful claims that they had regarding service incurred illness or injury... the whole nine yards. If it was a down trodden issue... I cared...I really DID.
Caring isn't enough. It doesn't help assuage the feelings of guilt for turning a blind eye to the matter of our men who are still trapped in South East Asia, or over the grief of the families, the torment suffered, by those who's loved one's were killed over there, yet their remains lay somewhere on a not so forgotten hill, or a forgotten room the equivalent of a communal dump for what they term enemy effects.
For quite awhile I knew that I had to do more than care... but HOW to get involved... I didn't know...what to do. And I guarantee you that is one program avenue for involvement the government does NOT spend billions of dollars on advertising to educate us on how to do. (Unlike issues of conservation and endangered species matters)
I am the mother of five children... all in school. And I guarantee you I am just as busy as the next. But I also have what must be one of the most perfect avenues of reaching out and getting involved these days... a computer. It was through this medium that I found my way to get involved... and my education about the true facts surrounding the MIA/POW issues. I also found through this common utility equipment, the ways I can really help and make a difference.
While cruising the net I came across a site with music (MIDI) files that I was looking for, run by a Vietnam Vet. Since I had several of the songs he was looking for to round out his dream list of Vietnam era MIDI music, I contacted him to let him know where he could collect them.
I also noticed the simple bracelet graphic and the plea to Adopt an MIA. I did not click right then to find out, but it stuck in the back of my mind, and when I got the email response from the man regarding the MIDI files, I wrote back asking what it was all about. He gave me the Email address of George (Gunny) Fallon... and that was the start of one of the busiest and I have to say one of the most satisfying stages of my current life.
Just to make double sure I went back to the man's site and clicked the bracelet which took me to the form for adopting an MIA... and filled it out. (I also had mailed Gunny asking if we had any MIAs specifically from the base here where I live...) It took a little while to be contacted regarding the form I sent in, as OJC was desperately trying to reconstruct the switchboard after our tragic loss of Jason, but they got back to me just as quickly as possible. Of course by this time Gunny himself had responded with the name and available info on the MIA I had inquired about. It was easy...
Since I already was into doing web pages, I got a free site through one of the providers on the net, and began building my tribute page. They provided all the information available regarding the man, and suggestions and support on how I could build the page effectively. They also have support for ways to effectively address your politicians and broach the issues of the status of your adopted MIA/POW. I also heard back with the results of the form I sent in...and I decided to adopt my second MIA/POW as well. (I currently have four MIAs)
Seeing how busy they were, trying to get the switchboard back up and running, and realizing that some of the things I was doing for fun could really be used to help and make it easier for others to get involved and help out as I was trying to do, I again contacted Gunny asking how I could help... he put me in touch with Bill Osborne who then queried regarding what I could do, and found appropriate teams for me to choose from.
Today I serve as a Staff member with Operation Just Cause, helping with Graphics, and HTML questions (helping with web pages etc. for those who need it) and on the team here, for the Mooduster Chronicles.
It didn't take a change of heart...it took a change of mind, and that through becoming educated about the real issues surrounding our men who are still waiting for us to bring them home. And it wasn't at all hard to do. It didn't take a diploma, nor being a politician, or any of the complicated things we expect it to for us to really make a difference... all it took was what I already had... I cared... AND a change of mind.
The POW/MIA Issue: In America's
(Part Two: From the Angle of Those Who Were There-Our Veteran's Speak Out.)
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