War is something that you read about in textbooks, not something that you will ever have to experience first hand. This was the belief of a young man from Long Island, until the United States Army drafted him in the year 1969.
He was faced with the decision of whether to go to a country thousands of miles away from his newlywed wife or to dodge the draft by going to Canada. Opting not to move to Canada and not wanting to go to war, he deliberately tried to fail his physical seven different ways, none of which worked. Out of the seven guys he hung out with, six of them, including himself, were sent to a country called Vietnam.
How do I answer a question like that? It totally caught me off guard and I did not want to say the wrong thing. That was the most profound question I have ever been asked and I learned more about my father with that one question than some people learn about theirs in a lifetime.
As a college writing assignment I was asked to write about any hero in American history. While most of my peers chose traditional figures as the subject of their papers, I decided I wanted to write about my father's experiences in Vietnam nearly thirty years earlier. Since there were no guidelines for the paper other than a broad topic I choose to do something completely different. I have always been proud of my father and I figured this would be a perfect way to demonstrate it.