With Bruised and Soiled Feet

In contemplation of the Proclamation recently signed by President Trump designating March 29th as Vietnam Veterans Days.

When I was in Vietnam, my grandmother was, of course, concerned for my wellbeing. Being somewhat religious, she decided that she would pray to god to bring me home safely remembering how effective her prayers had been some 25 years prior when she made a promise to god that if he brought her son, my uncle, home unharmed from WWII, she would walk barefoot through the dirty streets of Brooklyn to the local church and light a candle to express her gratitude and appreciation.

God came through, answered her prayers, and my uncle returned home safely from the Pacific. As she began her new supplication, however, she remembered, to her horror, that in the midst of all the excitement of my uncle’s return, she had neglected to fulfill her end of her bargain with god, never making the walk to the church, never lighting candle.

She was horrified; understandably concerned that god would be upset that she had not kept her promise, had broken their contract, that she did not appreciate what he had done for her and for her son. She was worried that I would suffer the consequences of her negligence; at the very least that god would ignore her prayers to bring me home safely as well.

It was critical, she thought, before she could expect god to grant her new request to watch over me in Vietnam, that she must make up for her past negligence and fulfill her “contractual” obligation. So with the help of my mother (she was quite elderly at that point) she made the difficult walk to the church to complete the original bargain she had made with god for her son’s return. When she arrived at the church with bruised and soiled feet, perhaps as an expression of god’s disappointment, she found the doors locked and the church closed.

The recent proclamation declaring March 29th Vietnam Veterans Day, is similar to walking barefoot to the church to satisfy a contractual obligation, in this case to veterans, that due to negligence remained unfulfilled for some 50 years.

Realizing that before it could expect to convince other young people to fight in present and future wars, it is necessary for this nation to at least feign gratitude, respect, and appreciation for the efforts and sacrifices, however misguided, of past warriors. But again, at least for me, despite the gesture and some “bruised and soiled feet,” the doors are locked and the church closed.

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Posted by on March 30, 2017, With 1209 Reads Filed under Government & Politics, Military, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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6 Responses to "With Bruised and Soiled Feet"

  1. David Odell  April 1, 2017 at 6:30 am

    They like to wait until all guilty parties are retired before admitting said guilt. The words of politicians and others are becoming sickening and more hollow each day. I won’t even tell people I’m a veteran anymore, because the dread ‘thank you for your service” has become a way for folks to feel good about themselves and has nothing to do with our service or the war itself. I do not wish to hear verbal apologies or hollow rhetoric. Raise the age to 21, reduce military spending by 80% , and stop taking all the freedoms “allegedly” fought for. There is no honor and there never was.

  2. joetv  March 31, 2017 at 9:58 am

    A good story Dr. It reminded me of how many times I have prayed, and bargained with God only to awake unharmed and promptly forget my side of the deal.

  3. ethanallen  March 30, 2017 at 3:48 pm


  4. davor  March 30, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Maybe even change Christmas and Easter into army and NATO days, and get it over with.

  5. davor  March 30, 2017 at 8:25 am

    USA could have 350 veterans days year round, one for every war it started. The rest would occupy Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, MLK day etc..

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