Thanks, Veterans! & Announcements

dsc_88094In 1967, the Summer of Love was over. Viet Nam protests were barely beginning, and I found myself without a place to live, and had quit a job with an abusive boss. I did not know what to do, and so I joined the USWACs. The Army was segregated in those days — not by race, but by sex. All WAC training was held at Ft. McClellan, AL and so the Army flew me out to begin my training. It was in Alabama, in 1967 that I first observed racial segregation. I saw “whites-only” bathrooms and water faucets. They were NOT just a “left-over” relic from an earlier and sad time. They were a commentary on how far we still had to come, and have come.

In 1968 I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, AZ at the Combat Surveillance School/Training Center Headquarters. I was on my way home to California when an automobile accident almost took my life, and did take my leg. 

I ended up at the Veteran’s Hospital in West LA, associated with UCLA medical center. The medical care there was the best available. What wasn’t the best, was how they treated women veterans. We were a rarity, and the VA was not set up to deal with us. There were no changing rooms for physical therapy for women vets, and I was the only one in the program. They had me use a broom closet. I was in therapy with a few WWII vets, but mostly with Viet Nam vets, youngsters like me, who had been blown up in the war – had lost one or both legs, one or both arms, or some combination of amputations. It was a difficult time, but that was 40 years ago.

Today, my son-in-law is in Iraq, serving along side many women. The WAC no longer exists. My daughter and grandkids await his return at Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs. I am hoping he comes back in one piece, with all his pieces. 

Today, we honor our veterans, from all wars, across time and oceans and death. Today, I’d like to honor my step-father, a veteran, who died this past Saturday at the age of 93. Bruce was an incredible man. He was a Jew.  Bruce was arrested in Vienna and taken to a school that was being used as a jail by the Nazis.  He was told that he would be released if he got out of Austria within 24 hours of release.  He left Austria and went to Estonia where he worked for a farmer in the underground for one year.  Then he managed to come to the US under the sponsorship of the man who owned GTX Rail Cars.  This man sponsored 6,000 Jews during WWII.  He lost his entire family to the Nazis. When he got to the United States, he joined the Army and became an American citizen. They sent him to Africa to be an interpreter. He did not like to talk about his experiences during WWII. He just did what he had to do, and then gave back to his “adopted” country. 

It is veterans like him that I salute today. You did good, Brucie, now rest, we can take it from here! We will all miss you more than you can know.

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Items of Note: Possible prescribed burn on Weds. the 12th at Andrew Molera; Sand bag party on Friday, the 14th, and two concerts coming on Sunday the 16th. See the announcement page for details.