Dr. Dave Borkowski
Intro to Literature
March 6, 2003
The Talk of the Town
What makes a man a man, and a woman a woman? This is an easy question
to answer, but sometimes we draw lines that aren’t really there. There are
people in this world that are innocent and others who follow the sinful
ways of true life. Now, when we think of men, we think of leaders, who are
strong people and they can protect the weak and the innocent, from those
who are sinful. When we think of women, we tend to think of the nurturing
that helps raise children to love. Think about the awful things that happen
during war. Each person who is born in the world has to have a mother. The
mother teaches her child to love and to cherish life and people. Then why
do they let them go to war? The horrors of war and the meaningless behind
it show up in the Vietnam War. United States Marines, Army, Navy, Air
Force, and other forces as well, must keep this country alive and fight for
its freedom. Without these fighters the world as these people know it,
would end. There has to sacrifice right? Well, two Vietnam veterans and
their mother will tell you their stories about how and what went through
their minds, then and now.


“Good Evening. My name is Ron Kovic, and I am, or I should say, was a
marine in the United States Marine Corp. I served my country and I realized
that I don’t know what to feel for it any more. I had lost faith in my
religion, my family, and myself. It has been rough times to think about
what had happened over there, but it bothers me to this day.”
“Oh Ron, please don’t lie to the people like this,” Ron’s mother said.

“Mom, why would I lie about the truth?”
“I don’t know what happened to you over there, but you have gone nuts. Are
you on drugs?”
“Am I on drugs? Mom I am your son, how can you say that I’m on drugs!”
“I wasn’t saying, I was asking you. You’ve changed a lot from my little
boy, I once knew.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I’m not your little boy anymore? For
goodness sake, I’m almost thirty now. I had one hell of a time out there
and all you can say to me is, ‘Are you on drugs?’ Maybe you should think
about what I did, what happened to me! You act as if you don’t care! I’m in
a goddamn wheelchair! Why the hell don’t you come to your senses? War is
real. It kills people. Innocent people, Mom! I killed innocent people!”
“I never raised you to do that. That’s your father’s doing, not mine. Don’t
blame me for that!”
“Oh bull! You told me to go! You told me you had a dream. Now your dream
has become a nightmare. You can’t face the facts mom. Your little boy is
dead! Not dead as in dead, but dead as in gone. I’m lost. What I did in
Vietnam made me see the real world! I killed someone’s sons and daughters.

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I killed them! They aren’t alive anymore! And for what reason, huh? Why? So
I could come home and you could boast about me being a hero. I’m not a damn
hero! I’m not your little boy! I shot one of my own men. I shot a freaking
marine! What for? Why’d he have to die? I’m a lost cause! I’m a failure!”
“You’re not a failure,” a small voice could be heard from the corner of the
room.

Victor Marquez and his mother, Angelina, enter the room. Ron and
Victor were war buddies in Vietnam. Ron recognizes Victor immediately.

“It’s not your fault you killed those people.”
“It is my fault and it is my problem that I have to live with for the rest
of my life. Yea that’s right, lucky me! I have a life to live! Sure, why
the heck not. I live in pain and suffering of what I saw and did and my own
mother, my own freaking mother can’t see eye to eye with me! Why go on? Why
didn’t I die?”
“You killed innocent people. So did I. I burned bodies and what’s worse, I
loved it! I loved what I did for my country and I’d go back in a heart
beat. Yea, it was tough. But get over yourself. What’s done is done. Move
on. You killed people so that we can have the freedoms we have today.

Without those freedoms, we can not fight, we can not stand up for our
beliefs, and we can not live.”
“You’re a sick man, you know that, Victor. You piece of crap…” (Ron
starts to tear up and lose control.)
Angelina Marquez stands up and says, “Mrs. Kovic, you have to understand
what these boys went through. They killed and slaughtered innocent people.

Yes they were fighting for us. That’s me and you, Mrs. Kovic. Our boys
fought for us and there is nothing that would make me happier than to have
a boy grow up and save us from the evils of this world. If my boy had to
kill millions of people just to eat, then so be it. Our boys are alive;
can’t you be happy about that at least? Can’t you see that your son put his
life on the line for you? I have lost my faith in Jesus and in god. I have
realized that people live and die. There are no reasons, they just happen.

Wars are fought because people disagree, not because god told them to do
it. You have to understand that people have minds, and that life is not
given to us, or taken from us, life is death. To be alive is to die, and to
die is to re-grow as grass for the world. There is nothing more than that,
Mrs. Kovic.”
“There is a saying in the military, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes’,
now that might be true before you die while at battle, because you want to
be somewhere else, but that fact is if you live, you lose all hope. You
can’t think god will save you. Why would he? You killed people. Isn’t one
of the commandments, though shall not kill? So why have war? Why fight?”
Ron said.

“Ron, you are my son, but I can’t have you not believe in god, for the
better of our family. You show a bad influence to your brothers and
sisters. I can’t think that I raised you to be this way. Ron, you have to
understand why I feel this way. I feel this way for the better of our
family. So they don’t see the realities of the world and how horrible it
is. I look at you and see a disaster. I don’t want my family to think that
that is what life is like. Not all lives have to be happy, some aren’t.

What you have realize is that it’s better to be ignorant than unhappy.”
“Mom, I am your son. I’ve seen the real world. I’ve seen what can happen
to, even the best of people. I don’t believe in god, because I see too much
evil the life. You must understand that I am alive and because I am alive,
you have to believe that god saved me. That’s what you think, that god
saved me. Did he? I feel that god saves no one. No one can save anyone. If
I could save anyone in my life, I’d save myself. Not you, not dad, not my
brothers or sisters, or my damn country! I’d get rid of the horrors I saw
and the horrible things I did. Then maybe you’d be in your own dream world
and we can all be happy again, but life is a bitch and death is its
mother.”
The group continued to talk and it seems that no one will ever get
the upper hand. It seems to me that what people see, hear, and do make a
person who they are. If you are one way, the only way to change that view
is to see it, but sometimes you can’t prove it, you just have to believe.

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