Society & Culture

Earning Your Protest

Like many young men graduating high school in 1966, my father took a fast track to the politically seething, war-shattered jungles of a small country on the other side of the world.  He had no middle name, no college degree (nor any aspirations of pursuing one), five siblings, and no “rich dad” culture to be passed down to him by my brick-and-mortar granddaddy.  My father may have shared a high-school alma mater with Elvis, but there were no sprawling Graceland campuses waiting in the working-class neighborhoods of north Memphis.  Uncle Sam wanted Dad.  Uncle Sam got him.  The young lieutenant received his commission, married his high-school sweetheart, and took his crew cut, his better than 20/20 vision, and his trust in General Westmoreland to Vietnam.

My dad was not drafted.  He volunteered for the United States Army.  He did two tours in-country, was a crack shot, and came home with the kinds of medals and commendations a son brags about to his friends.  His medals, plaques, and citations sit on the shelves of his memorial at the end of a hallway in my home, beneath the framed flag that covered his casket.  I still brag about him to my friends.  The relationship between father and son can be one of the greatest blessings provided by the Lord, and I am grateful I gradually became my dad’s confidant regarding many things, including his time as a combat...

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