Unformatted text preview: d the military had always been dominated by brave young men from the South, and if I didn't believe it then I should do some more research. There were a disproportionate number of Southern casualties in Korea and Vietnam. He concluded, rather eloquently: Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html Our freedom was bought at the terrible price of the lives of countless brave soldiers. But what if we had been too afraid to fight? Hitler and the Japanese would still be in power. Much of the civilized world would be in ruins. We would be isolated and eventually destroyed. I planned to run every single letter to the editor, but I hoped there might be one or two in support of my editorial. The criticism didn't bother me at all. I felt strongly that I was right. And I was developing a rather thick skin, a fine asset for an editor. - --- After Baggy's quick tutelage, I lost $100 playing poker with Bubba and the boys. They invited me back. There were five of us around the table, all in our mid-twenties. Three had served in Vietnam—Bubba, Darrell Radke, whose family owned the propane company, and Cedric Young, a black guy with a severe leg injury. The fifth player was Bubba's older brother David, who had been rejected by the draft because of his eyesight, and who, I think, was there just for the marijuana. We talked a lot about drugs. None of the three veterans had seen or heard of pot or anything else prior to joining the Army. They laughed at the idea of drugs on the streets of Clanton in the 1960s. In Vietnam, drug use was rampant. Pot was smoked when they were bored and homesick, and it was smoked to calm their nerves in battle. The field hospitals loaded up the injured with the strongest painkillers available, and Cedric got hooked on morphine two weeks after being wounded. At their urging, I told a few drug stories from college, but I was an amateur among professionals. I don't think they were exaggerating. No wonder we lost the war—ever...
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- Spring '10
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