The Talk of the Town

Intro to Literature

March 6, 2003

What makes a man a man, and a woman a woman? This is an easy question to answer, but sometimes we draw lines that arenít 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.

ďGood 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 donít 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.Ē

ďOh Ron, please donít lie to the people like this,Ē Ronís mother said.

ďMom, why would I lie about the truth?Ē

ďI donít know what happened to you over there, but you have gone nuts. Are you on drugs?Ē

ďAm I on drugs? Mom I am your son, how can you say that Iím on drugs!Ē

ďI wasnít saying, I was asking you. Youíve changed a lot from my little boy, I once knew.Ē

ďDid it ever occur to you that Iím not your little boy anymore? For goodness sake, Iím almost thirty now. I had one hell of a time out there and all you can say to me is, ĎAre you on drugs?í Maybe you should think about what I did, what happened to me! You act as if you donít care! Iím in a goddamn wheelchair! Why the hell donít you come to your senses? War is real. It kills people. Innocent people, Mom! I killed innocent people!Ē

ďI never raised you to do that. Thatís your fatherís doing, not mine. Donít blame me for that!Ē

ďOh bull! You told me to go! You told me you had a dream. Now your dream has become a nightmare. You canít face the facts mom. Your little boy is dead! Not dead as in dead, but dead as in gone. Iím lost. What I did in Vietnam made me see the real world! I killed someoneís sons and daughters. I killed them! They arenít alive anymore! And for what reason, huh? Why? So I could come home and you could boast about me being a hero. Iím not a damn hero! Iím not your little boy! I shot one of my own men. I shot a freaking marine! What for? Whyíd he have to die? Iím a lost cause! Iím a failure!Ē

ďYouíre not a failure,Ē 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.

ďItís not your fault you killed those people.Ē

ďIt is my fault and it is my problem that I have to live with for the rest of my life. Yea thatís 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 canít see eye to eye with me! Why go on? Why didnít I die?Ē

ďYou killed innocent people.