Saturday, June 18, 2005

Born on the Fourth of July---Ron Kovic speaks again

excerpts......

.....Editor's Note: Ron Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was paralyzed from the chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a wheelchair ever since. Along with Oliver Stone, Kovic was the co-screenwriter of the 1989 Academy Award-winning film based on his book, Born on the Fourth of July (Akashic Books). The following is the introduction to the new edition of the book.

It was exactly forty years ago this past September that I left my house in Massapequa, New York to join the United States Marine Corps and begin an extraordinary journey that was to lead me into a disastrous war which would change my life, and others of my generation, profoundly and forever. There are times in the lives of both individuals and nations when we cross certain thresholds where there is no going back, no return to the innocence we once knew; the change is utter and irreconcilable. We often sense these moments. I know I did that day.
I can still remember leaving my house that morning, saying goodbye to my mother, my father driving me down to the Long Island Railroad station with only a few words being said between us...........................

.........................I remember seeing those photos on several occasions after I came home from Vietnam and each time having terrible nightmares that shook me badly. I couldn't look at them, could not face that young man I had been before the war and my injury. I would always promise myself to never look at them again. My trauma was still very deep, and that beautiful boy, that body, had been destroyed, defiled, and savaged. My wounding in Vietnam both physically and emotionally haunted me, pursued me, and threatened to overwhelm me. ..............................................................

................I had driven all the way up in a used car I had just bought in L.A. and later abandoned in their driveway. It was deep in the woods, quiet and peaceful, so very different from the war and the hospitals and all that I had been through. The air was fresh and there was a pond behind their cottage where I dictated to Roger, and I remember feeling exhausted as he held me in his arms and I began to cry in the midst of all that stillness....................................................................................................

.......................I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding. So many similarities, so many things said that remind me of that war thirty years ago which left me paralyzed for the rest of my life. Refusing to learn from our experiences in Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception, distortion, manipulation, and denial, doing everything it can to hide from the American people their true intentions and agenda in Iraq. ................................................
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The paraplegics, amputees, burn victims, the blinded and maimed, shocked and stunned, brain damaged and psychologically stressed, now fill our veterans hospitals. Most of them were not even born when I came home wounded to the Bronx V.A. in 1968. The same lifesaving medical-evacuation procedures that kept me alive in Vietnam are bringing home a whole new generation of severely maimed from Iraq. .......................................................

......................................................To kill another human being, to take another life out of this world with one pull of a trigger, is something that never leaves you. It is as if a part of you dies with them. If you choose to keep on living, there may be a healing, and even hope and happiness again--but that scar and memory and sorrow will be with you forever. ..............................
..................................I saw firsthand what our government's terrible policy had wrought. I endured; I survived and understood. The one gift I was given in that war was an awakening. I became a messenger, a living symbol, an example, a man who learned that love and forgiveness are more powerful than hatred, who has learned to embrace all men and women as my brothers and sisters. No one will ever again be my enemy, no matter how hard they try to frighten and intimidate me. No government will ever teach me to hate another human being.
I have been given the task of lighting a lantern, ringing a bell, shouting from the highest rooftops, warning the American people and citizens everywhere of the deep immorality and utter wrongness of this approach to solving our problems, pleading for an alternative to this chaos and madness, this insanity and brutality. We must change course. .....

Read the entire introduction, HERE.

And read the email that was sent to me, with this article...
"Hi! I am truly moved by what this man has to say. Please read all of it. He is one of the reasons I am on the Department of Peace campaign committee - to try to win support for the bill to be introduced into Congress in September to make a cabinet level Department of Peace. You can read more about this at www.dopcampaign.org/main.htm Let me know what you think of Ron Kovic's essay and the DOP!! Thanks!! Peace and love, Ruth"

Make PEACE an organizing principle of our WORLD SOCIETY. How many times does Ron Kovic, do all of the Ron Kovics all over this world, have to tell their story?

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