I Mourn the Draftees | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly

I Mourn the Draftees 

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I Mourn the Draftees
In "Memorial Day Apathy" [Letters, June 4, City Weekly, June 4, 2015, p. 4], Tom Nied complains that City Weekly didn't honor "our currently enlisted men and women" this past Memorial Day. He then goes on to complain about the paper's "apathy towards our servicemen and service women."

I'm part of the Vietnam War generation of young men who mostly didn't volunteer for military service but were drafted. Take my friend, Roger, for example, with whom I played baseball at the state all-star level: Roger was shot in the head and killed within a few days of arriving in Vietnam. Another friend, Frank, was tortured by memories of helping his Army unit wipe out a Vietnamese village. I tried to help him by pointing out he had nothing to do with ordering that and was himself a victim—a thought that seemed to calm him at the time.

Fred was drafted because he had flushed a cherry bomb down one of the high school's toilets and blew it up. He was given a choice by the judge: either time in the state prison farm for juveniles or service in the military.

Ken did two hitches in Vietnam with the Marine Corps. He was definitely a victim of what later was called "delayed stress syndrome." One afternoon, Ken snapped and broke some of my kitchen furniture by throwing it across the room. Later, he developed what he called "my disease," a glandular swelling in his neck.

Finally, there was Jerry, whose job it was to fight Vietnamese troops in their tunnels. Jerry was captured and tied to trees in swamps for about three weeks. He escaped, but he had contracted a fungus infection in his lungs. At first, the Army didn't believe his capture story, and he had to fight the Veterans Affairs for necessary medical care for the next 30 years of his life until he finally died.

As I see it, we have to divide veterans into different eras. The draftees I mention here are the ones I mourn on Memorial Day. Yes, I feel for today's volunteers and whatever problems combat has brought them, but not in the same way. The military draft basically vacuumed young men off our nation's streets and sent them to do crazy things most of them didn't want any part of. I would caution "our currently enlisted men and women" to expect a degree of "apathy," although our media do their best to portray them as heroes and give them a type of acclaim Vietnam War-era fighters never received. They volunteered knowing the risks. Today's volunteers ask for it, while yesterday's draftees mostly wanted none of it.
Chuck Tripp
West Valley City

Adult Page Oversight
I was very disappointed to open the June 4, 2015, issue of City Weekly and discover that the comics and puzzles were opposite Community Beat and not, as I'm accustomed to, opposite the ads for porno DVDs, gay hookup apps, and something called an "erotic playground," which I expect has both a swing set and a ball pit.

Like so many other City Weekly readers, I look forward to spending my Thursday morning Trax ride lingering over the crossword and latest "K Chronicles," while the porn page hangs facing my fellow passengers, giving them the false impression that I would like to, in the words of the Guy Spy ad, "get on to get off."

Reading City Weekly usually makes total strangers think I'm a pervert and lets me work a sudoku at the same time but, this week, I had to choose one or the other, and the conflicting desires tore at my insides, where I'm soft and vulnerable, like a pretty flower. I hope this oversight will be corrected in future issues.
J'myle Koretz
Salt Lake City

Correction: A City Weekly June 11 news story, "O Drone Pioneers," incorrectly identified commercial drone operatorMatthew Baker's flight credentials. Baker is a former Blackhawk crew chief and a licensed civilian pilot.

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