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I Remember

(c)1997 Dennis Johnson

 In May, 1968, I avoided the draft by enlisting. During the next few years I did more than I had ever done up until that time. And possibly more than anytime since then. I was nineteen, and desperate to prove myself; to me more than to anyone else. That was a long time ago.

But I still remember.

I remember things that I learned serving my country that I don't think I could have learned anywhere else. Like living to a code of honor and of ethics. No one taught me that as a kid. Or like striving to do all I could, not just enough to meet some minimum requirement. I learned to trust my life to people I had known for a very short time.

But not just anybody.

Guys you knew you could count on, no matter what.

Although I wasn't too careful, I was extremely lucky.

I went to a war that wasn't a war and I made it back.

And then I made a very large mistake. I put it all away in a box that I buried in a really deep hole.

And I left it there.

At the time it was what I needed; to cope, to survive.

Life kept happening, and time marches on, as they say. Well, now I'm coming up on 30 years since it all began. I've dug up the hole and opened the box. I've been to the Wall in D.C. and the moving wall in Dallas. I've been to Angel Fire, New Mexico.

And I've traveled from sea to shining sea.

And now I'm here, traveling the internet. And I finally know what I've been looking for. I only pray I find it.

I am seeking peace. Not world peace, just simple, individual, inner peace.

Because I left people behind.

Guys that counted on me just like I counted on them.

Guys that counted on us, just like we counted on them.

So where is the honor and the ethics now?

I will NEVER forget!

But now I will do something more than just remember.

I will do what I can to recover my honor and rebuild my ethics.
We must all do what we can to recover our honor and rebuild our ethics.
So I must do what I can.

And, hopefully, you will do something, too. Even if it is to just spread the word.    That we will NEVER forget!

The thought of anybody being left behind is sickening. The realization that they are still unaccounted for is absolutely shameful.

I am ashamed.
But I am also determined; to speak out, to write, and to remember.

How about you?

This is the first thing I wrote after finding Operation Just Cause.


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