Mommy, Did You Kill Anybody in the War?


NamNews, 2-02,  Page 32,  6 Feb 1988
By Norma Boris, Omaha. Nebraska

As I read my January '84 issue of the VVA Veteran, my 6-month old son sleeps soundly in his room. The articles are tingling, unnerving. Particularly unnerving is one on the last page. I read about a man who carried a gun, who was face to face with the enemy, and who killed. I shudder as I contemplate the day my son asks me the question above. After all, I'm mommy, not daddy.

It makes me think. Least painfully I think of the time limit we imposed on the Vietnamese patients with "no hope" of improvement. Our doctors, knowing their litters would be left on the dust-off pad at the ARVN hospital, wanted them kept in our Casualty Receiving. We wanted them transferred to simply die elsewhere. Sure as hell, they died.

Before a twelve hour limit was imposed, there were patients who just stayed until they stopped breathing - sometimes that was days. The memories of those patients are more painful. After a while I didn't suction so often, finally not at all. I sat there as they breathed more and more irregularly, less and less frequently. The died too - finally, taking just a little of me with them.

Then there are the most painful. They are of the ones I told, "I'll be right back..." Even when I was, it wasn't soon enough for them. Their staring eyes were round, their skin American, no matter what color.

Last, there are the memories that I do not yet allow entrance into my consciousness. They are the memories of the children.  I never knew that tiny, slanted eyes could open SO wide and that children in such pain could be SO quiet. I still handle them in my nightmares.

So, son, what do I tell you when you ask, "Mommy, did you kill anybody in the war?" I have a few years, a few years to hope the history books do NOT add the information that women went ...and that women killed.

I have a few years to practice my "pat" answers and to hope, against hope, that you never hear the word "Vietnam".

"Mommy, did you kill anybody in the war?" Oh my God...yes...

Norma Boris served at the 67th Evac in Qui Nhon 1969-70.


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My Vietnam Related Websites:
button Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
button Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet

button Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
button Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
button All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
button Battle Dressing ~
button Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
button Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey
M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City
The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!

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