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Unformatted text preview: n the wrist, but what did I care? Strong language was needed to give light to the blind patriots of Ford County. Before the flood of calls and letters, though, I made a friend. When I returned from Thursday lunch with Miss Callie (lamb stew indoors by the fire), Bubba Crockett was waiting in my office. He wore jeans, boots, a flannel shirt, long hair, and after he introduced himself he thanked me for the editorial. He had some things he wanted to get off his chest, and since I was as stuffed as a Christmas turkey, I placed my feet on my desk and listened for a long time. He'd grown up in Clanton, finished school here in 1966. His father owned the nursery two miles south of town; they were landscapers. He got his draft notice in 1967 and gave no thought to doing anything other than racing off to fight Communists. His unit landed in the south, just in time for the Tet Offensive. Two days on the ground, and he had lost three of his closest friends. The horror of fighting could not accurately be described, though Bubba was descriptive enough for me. Men burning, screaming for help, tripping over body parts, dragging bodies off the battlefield, hours with no sleep, no food, running out of ammo, seeing the enemy crawl toward you at night. His battalion lost a hundred men in the first five days. "After a week I knew I was going to die," he said with wet eyes. "At that point, I became a pretty good soldier. You gotta reach that point to survive." He was wounded twice, slight wounds that were treatable in field hospitals. Nothing that would get him home. He talked of the frustration of fighting a war that the government would not allow them to win. "We were better soldiers," he said. "And our equipment was vastly superior. Our commanders were superb, but the fools in Washington wouldn't let them fight a war." Bubba knew the Mooney family and had begged Pete not to go. He had watched the burial service from a distance, and he cursed everybody...
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- Spring '10