Sitting in the Flames? A guest post to benefit our Vets.
At a recent multi-author book signing in AZ, I met Dr. John Edwin DeVore, a Vietnam Vet whose thoughtful book Sitting in the Flames was written to help our warriors and their families recover from the horrors of combat.
He told me of the previous week of his being at a local emergency room with his wife when a paralyzed Vet literally crawled in through the door, dragging his body along the concrete by sheer force of will. He’d been refused service at our local (notorious) VA the day before, but had to get inside before they could help him. The confluence of ObamaCare compounding VA abandonment is tragic.
I never served in the military, but as a young civilian engineer with high-level clearances and a desire to help I was very close to the Vietnam War. It was an experience that has shaped the rest of my life, and one that you may see reflected in my novels. I feel a debt to our heroes.
My best friend, Captain Langford C. Metzger, was on the USAF side of the systems I was helping develop. He was a hero who did four combat tours: Five if you count the baby flights out of Saigon when the country was collapsing, after the peace treaty was signed, all our troops were out, and a post-Watergate Congress led by people like Joe Biden cut off the military support we’d promised.
Here is a song that reminds me of Lang. One time I picked him up at Fort Worth, TX when he came in on a C-130. I still get choked up when I hear it.
AWESOME “ANGEL FLIGHT”
This video is about a song called “Angel Flight”. The song is being performed with “effects.” Listen to the words of the pilot and the tower, and make sure you sit quietly and listen at the very end.. You will understand why one of the singers said he would be glad to help with the song…..if he could stop crying. This is beautiful. God bless our Vets!
Here is my blog post about Vietnam. Link.
Suffice it to say that we have not treated our Vets or our serving military well. One person I met along my journey was Colonel Jack Broughton, a decorated fighter pilot turned harsh critic.
Broughton and some of his pilots were court-martialed over an incident where two of his Majors allegedly committed the “crime” of shooting back, and thus violating Rules of Engagement. They were accused of covering up the strafing of a Soviet freighter on their egress of a bombing raid on N. Vietnam. All were acquitted of the most serious charges, and the court-martial was later expunged, but it ended his career. Broughton retired.
Later he wrote: “We were poorly utilized, we were hopelessly misdirected and restricted, and we were woefully misused by a chain of stagnant high-level civilian and military leadership that didn’t have the (courage) to fight the war they ineptly mismanaged.”
All should read General McMaster’s book, Dereliction of Duty, to get an understanding of how Secretary McNamara and Lydon Johnson mismanaged the Vietnam war. Link.
“The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.”
—H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion)
It was bad in Vietnam and has gotten worse since. The ROEs under Obama were suicidal. Heroes like Colonel Allen West faced charges for being unkind to a terrorist in order to find the bomb maker who was putting his command at risk. People at the highest levels were behind the Benghazi debacle. As yet, no one has ever been punished.
There is a young Lieutenant serving a twenty year prison sentence for murder because he ordered his troops in Afghanistan to engage (kill) some unarmed terrorists on motorcycles who were serving as spotters to target his troops. The officer he was replacing had been injured in just such an attack.
My personal view: Our brave troops have won all the battles, but America has not won a war since 1945. If we don’t have the will and courage to declare war and kill our enemies, we should not send our brave young men and women in Harm’s Way.
Wars often continue until they are won or lost. The Muslims have been fighting each other, and the world, for over 1,000 years. It’s a generational war our leaders pretend doesn’t exist. We dare not speak the word jihad or name the enemy. One side is at war, beheading people and seeking nuclear weapons. The other is in denial, disarming, pretending all is well.
We put our troops into combat, but punish them for harming our enemies. Obama infamously traded Five Top level terrorists for a deserter who abandoned his unit on the battlefield. This was a slap in the face to all who have ever served honorably in our military. We lost six of our finest searching on the battlefield to rescue Bowe Bergdahl.
This traitor was not executed nor did he serve any prison time, thus shaking confidence in the military justice system. The judge who allowed this commented that the Bergdahl case was tainted because President Trump had mentioned his traitorous desertion. The judge made no mention of President Obama’s hosting Bergdahl’s Muslim parents at the White House in a well publicized event, or the fact that Obama’s trading five prisoners without first notifying Congress was illegal.
Right now, there are 65,000 Vets sleeping in our streets and 22 per day committing suicide. We give free health care and benefits to illegals, but we treat our Vets, to whom we owe so much, poorly.
America used to honor our Vets, calling them “The Greatest Generation.” Until Vietnam, when some spit on them when they came home. This because the first war where the losers, not the winners, wrote the history. False history, which has adversely effected every war since. These people are now in power. They are killing our Vets by neglecting our sacred promise to protect them as they protected us.
When Vets die from neglect, this is exposed, prompting outrage and scandal. Congress complains, fingers are pointed, money is voted, change is promised, but the quality and availability of care does not improve.
This is shameful. In what other society would it be tolerated?
Here are links to Colonel Broughton’s books. He led an F-105 outfit that was taking 90% loss rates while raiding N. Vietnam daily in the face of intense, state-of-the-art, Soviet defenses. I read his original edition (1969) Thud Ridge until my copy was tattered. It is no longer in print. I think it is better than the 1985 edited reprint. Link.
And here is a link to the personal history of my friend, Lang Metzger. Lang came home from Vietnam, but he never really left. This page was originally posted by his daughter Lauren. I helped her with it. Link.
And here below is Dr. DeVore’s post. Please contact him directly if you want to know more about his book. www.johnedwindevore.com.
May God Bless America, and especially our troops and our Vets.
The Obama FBI and VA team up to harass Vets: “Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) brought renewed attention to the plight of a growing number of veterans who have been unjustly stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In an April 14 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Grassley takes the Department of Veterans Affairs to task for overreaching policies that have resulted in the names of well over 100,000 veterans and dependents being placed in the FBI’s National Instance Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as prohibited from possessing firearms.”
Our most patriotic citizens are giving up: Colonel Ollie North, with a lifetime of exemplary service to our nation, recently stated in an interview that he was advising his family members to NOT join the military until after 2016 when Obama is gone. Our allies can’t trust America, and our enemies don’t fear us.
Why write Sitting in the Flames?
After retirement in 1993, bowling felt like a really neat activity for a new senior citizen. Three leagues per week, coupled with 40-50 games of practice per week, moved the average to 208. When the average peaked, burn-out and boredom arrived; and bowling was no longer fun. This triggered the search to discover a key to re-spark an interest in bowling and produce a higher bowling average. Competitive bowling was soon to fade from the journey; and sports literature became the menu.
Some of the literature included: Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life by Dan Millman; Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson; The Warrior Within: The philosophies of Bruce Lee to better understand the world around you and achieve a rewarding life by John Little; and The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
What did the reading uncover? My athletic experiences were absent a link between the body and the mind. It appeared that the literature was offering that connected breathing might be the bridge between the physical and mental-emotional bodies, with an added benefit of improved performance in sport and perhaps even life. In one of the many books associated with connected breathing, Naropa Institute was mentioned as an academic institution where the student could learn to meditate. Little did I realize that Naropa Institute, now Naropa University, was located in Boulder, Colorado, a 30 minute commute from home in Arvada, Colorado. Starting in 2001, I was to spend three years in the contemplative environment at Naropa University studying meditation and the five wisdom traditions. This three years re-directed and may have saved my life; and added meditation practice to my daily ritual.
Sitting in the Flames was sparked during a Spiritual Models of Social Action class at Naropa University. Under the leadership of Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown, we were studying Martin Luther King, Jr., Sulak Sivaraska, a Thai social activist, Gandhi and Tich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. One day Dr. Simmer-Brown brought a book to class, placed it on her desk, pointed to the book, looked at me and said, “John, you need to read this book.” The title of the book was War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges, at the time a journalist for the “New York Times” and a professor at Princeton University. This book, complimented by the study and inspiration of Thich Nhat Hanh and his spiritual partner Chan Kong, gave rise to re-visiting, through study, reflection papers and sitting meditation, my two years of combat during the Vietnam War. These reflection papers became quite therapeutic and became the genesis of Sitting in the Flames when it occurred one day that perhaps sharing my experiences with finding freedom from the residual pangs of emotional chaos associated with combat, may help others who suffer from similar trauma associated with the reality of war.
Contact Dr. John Edwin DeVore: