Friday, November 17, 2006

The Wall in miniature

This one isn't made of black granite like Maya Lin's. It's a retired traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall made of black sheet metal and inscribed with all the names of the men and women who died in the Vietnam War. It was our history lesson this day. We'll go back sometime because behind the wall is a small park with granite podiums - each inscribed with a synopsis of every war the U.S. has ever been in. The one for Iraq/Afghanistan is still blank.

My cousin was going to go to Canada if he was drafted. He was/is a pacifist. He never got drafted. I was 11 so I didn't understand anything.

I knew a man who was in his late 40's and still had nightmares. He was a stout man, but he dreamt that he'd been injured in Vietnam, not killed, and that he was lying on the ground with dead all around him. The Vietnamese, in his dream, were going from body to body stabbing them with the knives on the end of their weapons (I forget the proper nomenclature) to ensure they were dead. In his dream he'd turn over quickly to his stomach so he could play dead, and in his sleep even as large a man as he was, he could turn to his stomach faster than you can imagine. Very quick. Quick like a dancer, but he was no dancer.

When he awoke from this dream he scared my friend sometimes. She was very careful to remain a few feet away from him until he was completely awake. It was a recurring nightmare he had.

Photo taken November 14, 2006
New Mexico


kim said...

I used to be a pacifist. I don't think I am anymore. I think I was a naive would-be-pacifist, along the lines of "if we all just are nice, the world will be fine" sort of thinking.

How awful to be haunted by dreams of such an awful thing. My bizarre dreams are bad enough. I shouldn't say that, I don't want to make light of that man's dreams. :-(

Liliana said...

Were you really? I was sort of friends with a full on pacifist once. It almost exploded my brain so I had to end the sort of friendship. She was also an athiest-turned-Christian (and oh no, with a PhD). This can be as bad as talking with a non-smoking-ex-smoker.