Gary Reynolds was a classmate of mine at Deland-Weldon High School in Central Illinois. He was a kind, gentle, smart, high school student. He was our senior class president, was in the band, and probably every other useful helpful activity. He was a great friend to us all.
Graduating in 1960, he then attended and graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana. He then joined the Peace Corps and served our nation in Africa. The U.S. Army drafted Gary from Africa and sent him instead to Vietnam. He arrived and started duty as a member of the infantry on January 02, 1969. He was killed by our own troops on February 11, just six weeks later. His death is labeled as a hostile ground action and a “misadventure.”
When I first read that terse military statement I was outraged. That was four days ago. I am still outraged.
The entire damn Vietnam War was a misadventure. The war killed over 55000 American service people and maimed hundreds of thousands more. It cost billions of dollars. It created, forever, in the minds of those of who remember LBJ and Westmoreland, and the evening news, and who listened, a deep distrust of what the government tells us. We even killed our young people on campus if they protested. And, we “got run out of town.”
The government then, lied to us. Bill Clinton lied to us. George Bush told us WMD and all we found, as the historian Karl McCarty tells us, was WD-40 under someone’s sink. Bush said we won, and six years later we still die in the streets of Iraq. McCain told us the surge was necessary. That is a short term ruse. As most Americans, McCain has a fast food view of time. The Americans have a watch or clock. The Iraqi’s have all the time. They have been killing each other in the valley of Tigris and Euphrates for 3000 or more years; they are now and they will when we leave. And all the dead? “Misadventures.” Sarah Palin and her crazy friends lie to the American people. These people speak with forked tongues. Einstein, I believe, said insanity is doing the same over and over and expecting different results.
Gary, my friend, here I am 50 years later, remembering you as the gentleman you were. I am really sorry the world didn’t get to benefit from you for 100 years. Your mother is still alive and I called her this week and told her that you were the very best, and I meant it. Rest in peace my friend.