Although Thanksgiving is arguably one of the most widely celebrated holidays of the year, there is another day in November that too many people do not take time to realize. Veteran’s Day has never been seen as the most decorated holiday, but still, it is just as important as any other holiday on the calendar. No veteran should ever go unnoticed for their service. The highly esteemed individual of this story is one who fought valiantly for our country, seeing sights most of us might never see. He fought alongside friends he would never again see after his service, fought next to lifelong friends who still struggle looking back at their experiences, and sadly, fought next to some who died to protect our freedoms and liberties. This venerated war veteran is JD Field, a former soldier who fought on the front lines in Vietnam.
JD is my grandfather, who expressed honest opinion and real emotion from what he witnessed of the horrors of war with his own eyes. Field was recruited to fight in Vietnam in 1968, after graduating from Cuyahoga Falls High School and serving an LDS mission out of Ohio. He was recruited by the U.S. Marines and would be placed in the 1st Battalion 9th Marines, an infantry unit deployed in the northwest Laotian border of South Vietnam. This battalion is most known to have fought in the Battle of Khe Sanh, in 1968, a blood and extended North Vietnamese siege against an important US military base.
“When you are in the actual battle, fighting for your friends and yourself, it’s easier to get things done. But afterwards, when you look back at what you were ordered to do, it’s hard to picture yourself as a moral person.”
JD’s thoughts of war now are very different from what they were before he was deployed. “When you are in the actual battle, fighting for your friends and yourself, it’s easier to get things done. But afterwards, when you look back at what you were ordered to do, it’s hard to picture yourself as a moral person.”
Field said he still struggles at least once every day, thinking of the things he had to do in the war in order to survive. The sad truth of a war veteran continued when he began expressing his feelings about today’s issues.
“Knowing the amount of people that I was close friends with, who all died for nothing, if you know the history of the Vietnam War. I hate that we as a society still haven’t learned from our mistakes. War will never fix anything; it will only continue to cause more problems throughout the world.”
While it is clear that war veterans continue to struggle with emotional pain everyday of their lives, JD was ready to move on from the emotional side of things, and be ready to answer the question that I initially came to him for.
He clearly explained what it was like to see the war first hand, but going into too much detail was not necessary. He wanted to explain some of his encounters so that I would realize, and hopefully help you understand why Veteran’s Day should be appreciated more. “Most people, including myself, weren’t happy to go to war. I didn’t even sign up for it; I was drafted. I was re-deployed into Vietnam three different times. When you fight alongside your lifelong best friend and lose him in the last days of your service, it stabs your heart replaying it in your mind, wondering what you could’ve done to save him. Veteran’s Day should be appreciated because of things like this.” Our appreciation of our veterans, is a sign that we acknowledge the hardships they went through to protect our freedoms and liberties, even if in the end, it all was for nothing. War veterans gave their lives to protect you and me.
JD made one last comment that he wanted to make clear. “If you’ve kept up with news for the last couple of years, you’d know that we are in a war that is almost meaningless in the sense that it won’t fix anything. I hope that everyone really takes time on Veteran’s Day, to remember what they’ve done, and are doing to protect you, even if it is for nothing in the end.” For those of you who will read this, please remember to always take time to appreciate Veteran’s Day. Always remember, not only to honor them, but also honor the fact that they die for their country's’ liberty, freedoms and happiness.