[Marxism] Vietnam Vet Bury His Only Son, Killed in Iraq: "We need to get the hell out of there."
M. Junaid Alam
junaidalam at msalam.net
Tue Aug 31 18:28:21 MDT 2004
This is a stirring example of the completely mixed consciousness
prevailing in America. Here is a father who served in one war of
aggression, and his son was very proud of that service. But the father
himself was sharply angry that the son enlisted and is now opposed to
this war. The real tragedy here is that the son apparently opposed
imperialism in high school for whatever reason, then 9-11 changed his
mind into a pro-war stance.
If there was a real left in America, that dedicated its energy, money,
and confidence into spreading leftist ideas, and not fucking around,
handwringing, and mentally masturbating every four years with Democratic
fantasies, isn't it possible this 20 year old could have reached other
conclusions about 9-11? If there existed an active leftist youth
movement that could have launched a counter-campaign in the public arena
of ideas against the flood of right-wing bullshit pouring out of every
orifice of this society after 9-11, isn't it possible this kid's
conviction and understanding in anti-war and anti-occupation ideas could
have been strong enough to resist the temptations of nationalism?
My intention is not to be melodramatic. The point I want to make is that
the paralysis of the left, its endless vacillation between tailing the
Democrats and leading an all-sided independent struggle, has tangible
consequences. It doesn't just mean we are not moving forward. It means
the enemy is moving us backward. It means some kid who could easily be
sitting next to me in some class isn't sitting anywhere in any class
because he's dead. He was recruited by capitalism to die by those
salesmen of death known as army recruiters, and there was no equally
powerful counterweight, not by a long shot, pulling in the opposite
Vietnam vet buries son killed in Iraq
Idaho governor, 1960s rock star attend services
Tuesday, August 31, 2004 Posted: 6:50 PM EDT (2250 GMT)
*BOISE, Idaho (Reuters) -- Tom Titus experienced the shock of watching
his best friend die in his arms during the Vietnam War in 1971.*
On Monday, the ex-Army Ranger felt the even greater horror of burying
his only son Brandon, 20, killed on August 17 by an explosion while
patrolling a Baghdad slum.
Idaho's Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a 1960s rock 'n' roll star, grieving
relatives and leather-clad Vietnam War veterans attended the funeral at
a modern church before Pfc. Titus, who served as a gunner on a Humvee,
became the first person buried in the new Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
Such a scene of grief has played out nearly 1,000 times since the United
States invaded Iraq last year. Yet Americans rarely hear much about
their fallen soldiers, who typically appear as a name or photo in the
growing list of the dead.
The story of Brandon Titus is especially poignant because of his
father's public anguish and an eloquent note the soldier left behind in
the case of his death.
"You wanted me to be proud of you," an emotional Tom Titus, wearing his
medals on his vest, said in his eulogy. "I just want to say to my child
that this is the proudest dad in the whole world."
Tom Titus barely made it out of Vietnam alive after being wounded twice.
In a 1971 incident, a mortar round in the jungle left the decorated
soldier without sight in one eye. It took six months in a hospital to
reconstruct his face.
Many of his "brothers in arms" wore leather biker jackets to Monday's
funeral and more than 100 motorcycles rode in the procession.
Paul Revere, lead singer of the 1960s rock band Paul Revere and the
Raiders, gave a eulogy and a member of his band sang a song in the
service that had Tom Titus sobbing behind his hands. "If you ever think
of me, think of all your liberties and recall, some gave it all," sang
Legacy of service
Brandon grew up with his divorced father from age 13 amid a legacy of
military service, a family tradition for many generations.
"He was a proud man that spoke highly of his father Tom, a veteran
himself. Brandon just wanted to live up to the Titus name," Spc. Dave
Huval, a member of Titus' squad, wrote in a message from Iraq posted to
an Internet tribute page.
Before going off to war, Brandon left a computer disk with a message
entitled, "My Time has Come," to be read only if he did not return from
Iraq. Tom Titus broke down in tears when he read it aloud.
"I learned a lot from my dad and I wanted to be like him. I wanted to do
something that would truly make him proud of me," he said in that message.
In many ways, Titus was a typical American kid, a football player and
high school wrestler who shared his dad's passion for motorcycles.
Resident of a strongly Republican state, he felt the need to give back
to his country.
"When I was in high school I was against any type of war or occupation
of another country and I was ignorant to think the United States
government was a bunch of B.S," Brandon Titus wrote.
"When Sept. 11 happened, my opinion of this country changed very
quickly. ... Things hit home when I watched a plane filled with innocent
people crash into a building killing them all because of some coward
terrorists who live in caves who thought they could divide America by
Brandon's enlistment two years ago upset his father, who exchanged sharp
words with both his son and the army recruiter. Amid his grief, the
father has now turned against the war.
"I shouldn't be burying him, he should be burying me," he said in a
sometimes tearful interview. "The war is not worth it now. We need to
get the hell out of there."
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