Vets Day Guest Blog: 'Let's Abolish War Forever'
By DENNIS SERDEL
Art's Division suffered extremely heavy casualties in Vietnam. On Veteran's Day night, Art felt the ghosts in the room with him, sometimes he would see a face of smoke and a shadow with no legs, just dried black blood and white bones. Art would try to wipe the dead tears from the soldier's eyes but then Art would begin to cry uncontrollably.
A doctor he once had told Art he was emotionally disturbed.
Then another ghost appeared like green jungle mist, his helmet and M-60 machine-gun lay at his boots, a hole in his forehead had dripped black blood and dried upon his face.
Art arose from his chair but walked like a drunk, when he stopped and looked at the floor it was Wall to Wall black body bags and he was walking on the dead.
Part of Art died too in Vietnam, he tried to care about nothing because you don't hurt that way. But another ghost appeared with sad eyes and Art began to cry again.
Art heard the thumping of mortar rounds and then the explosions and he raised his head to the black sky and cried, "Kill me!"
He heard the pin being pulled on a hand grenade, the "carpet bombing" by B-52's.
When he fell to the floor in exhaustion, a white hazed Korean war soldier sat on the floor, his back against the wall, frozen in time with his black blood throat cut.
A WWII soldier stood in front of Art, his head blown off leaving his black blood neck.
Art felt someone behind him and when he turned around there were two Iraq soldiers with dried black blood faces blown off by IED's.
A member of Veterans For Peace had heard about Art from another in the Veteran's Day Parade. He knocked on Art's dark door that night and when Art opened the door in fear, the VFP looked at his condition and said, "You can not live this way anymore. Come with me my brother and join us to abolish war forever."
Art reached out and touched his hand and it was warm and he walked through that door and felt some sort of peace stir inside him for the first time since coming back from the man made war.
Dennis Serdel served with the 11th Brigade of the Americal Division in Vietnam in 1967-68 and received a Purple Heart. He works with Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He is a United Auto Workers retiree and lives in Michigan.