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By Gregg Viens
By the time you read this it will be the day after Veterans Day. Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day at the end of World War I. Then Hitler and World War II came. What a shame that such good men have to throw their lives away to undo the evil work of other men. There will always be men like these men who impose their wants on those who don't do as they do.
We have been in 12 or more major conflicts since 1775 up to today and
there seems to always be one coming out of nowhere to confront us. We
end up sending our dear fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, mothers,
sisters, daughters and aunts off to some distant land to defend our
rights, to be put in harm's way, to be shot at, blown up, stressed out,
maimed or killed. What a sad, unfair state it always is.
Back in late winter of 1966 as we sat in class, we saw two uniformed men and a reverend pass by our classroom window to the school entrance. At that time, the school entrance merged with the kitchen area of the South Fayston School. Mrs. Fielders was our cook. Seconds later we all heard her scream from seeing these three men show up to give this dear, fine lady the word of the loss of her beloved son, Bobby, who was lost in the conflict of Vietnam. She only had to see them to know that she had lost her only boy.
Fielder was from the Waitsfield class of 1961, 10 years before I graduated in 1971. He was a dear friend to my youngest sister Jeannette who went to school with him.
Another very good young man that I know was lost to that war was Brian Orr. He was a real friendly, great boy to be around. He was so fine a person to me even though I didn't get to be around him much. But I did so want to go snowmobiling with him. I bought a 1969 Skidoo from his father's shop in the fall of 1969. By late spring of 1970 word had gotten back to Harwood and The Valley that another one of its sons had been killed in far-off Vietnam.
Many of us didn't know he had gone into the service or to the war before the tragic news of his loss. Such an awful waste of a good life. I have thought of him a lot over the years. He is one reason I go around The Valley and elsewhere on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day playing "Taps." It hurt me to do it and I don't feel right not doing this duty to our beloved countrymen who have served. If I don't do it, who will honor these good, honorable, fallen countrymen.
Remember this as you all go about your day. Someone had to give his all and, yes, die so that we can live our lives the way we do. Think and remember, what if they had lost and the enemy had won?
Gregg Viens lives in Fayston.