There is a part of my father’s military service that I rarely write about, and only occasionally talk about. Mostly, I think, because I know so little about it. I did some research on it when writing AFTER THE FLAG, but it wasn’t my focus and I know very little about the background of the story.
My father served two tours of duty in Korea.
The very first war he fought in was the Korean War.
He did one tour prior to meeting Mama. The other tour he did while Mama was pregnant with my baby sister. We were living in Hawkins County, Tennessee during that time, too. I suppose so we could be close to Mama’s parents. She never talked much about that time with me, but I know that when it came time to deliver Linda, Mama took a cab to the hospital. There was no hoopla over Linda’s birth. She was several months old before Daddy met her. I think that’s probably why in so many ways, Mama bonded so tightly with my sister. That and Linda was the baby of the family, after all.
My Uncle James told me the most about my father’s service in Korea. He said that my father had survived a bad firefight – a firefight in which only a handful of men came out alive. That was the reason, James told me, that he wasn’t concerned when my father went to Vietnam. He figured if Daddy could survive such a bad battle in Korea, then surely he wouldn’t face anything as awful in Vietnam. And even if he did, James figured his brother had luck on his side. He’d be fine.
James never figured on friendly fire as the cause for my father’s dying.
None of us did.
There were decades of my life when I didn’t give Korea a second thought. I’ve been to the Korean Memorial in DC. I like it best at night. I can envision those statues as real men walking, snow crunching beneath their boots. I imagine their lips blue, their fingers frozen numb. I wish my dad had survived Vietnam, so he could have told me the stories of Korea over cups of warm coffee. I wish he lived so he could tell me how it is I am supposed to think and feel when voters put a madman in office. I wish he had lived so he could teach me how not to hate the hateful.
I wish he lived so I would feel compelled to be my best self and not my worst self.
But he died.
In a war that should never have been.
At the hands of a 105 controlled by a man who drank too much and made too many irrational decisions.
There were decades of my life when I never even knew who the leader of North Korea was. Decades when I didn’t lose sleep over the thought of a nuclear war. Decades when the only war that impacted my life was the one that took my father from me. Not to diminish that, but just to say, there were times when our nation’s leaders did such a great job of protecting us citizens that I slept soundly and woke with optimism for the day.
There isn’t a day that goes by now that some high mucky-muck isn’t pontificating about the what ifs of war with North Korea.
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
There is talk of war with North Korea on a daily basis.
There is talk about nuclear destruction on a daily basis.
Actions always start first as thoughts. Those thoughts are then articulated. Then those words are acted upon.
Someone, somewhere, probably a lot of someones somewhere are planning to do the very thing that they keep talking about – slaughtering people, millions of innocent people via nuclear destruction.
Those someones are us.
Trump, the man who was too much of a punk to serve a tour of duty in Vietnam, wants to go to war. He wants to slaughter people. He will do it, too. He doesn’t care who dies. He only cares about how it makes him look. He wants to look strong. He wants to make up for his yellow-bellied cowardliness in Vietnam. He thinks blowing up North Korea will make him a hero to his friends.
And they are cheering him on.
Make no mistake about it.
Read his Facebook page, if you dare.
Read his Twitter feed.
They are egging him on.
They want him to blow up North Korea.
The only thing standing between us and nuclear destruction right now is Mattis.
While Trump distracts us with NFL nonsense, and bitch-mode wives, and comparing his dick-head size to that of Tillerson’s, he is planning nuclear destruction.
We have to find a way to stop him.
For the sake of all those people in North Korea who have no voice.
For the sake of our own children and grandchildren.
We have to stop this madman and his crazy devotees. They are set on bringing about the Apocalypse.
We have to stop them.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of CHRISTIAN BEND: A Novel.