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this one’s for you, Eddie

May 30, 2011

As my friends and family in the U.S. celebrate Memorial Day today, I’d appreciate

it if they would hoist one in the memory of Eddie Weekfall.  We went through the

well-structured hell of Marine Corps boot camp together.


Eddie was from the mean streets of East St. Louis, Illinois, a strapping soul brother

whose anger and passion blazed like searchlights in his eyes.  After a rough start in

the roughest of environments, we became friends.


Just before we left boot camp, a drill instructor told us our basic MOS’s (Military

Occupational Specialty).  These assignments determined where we went after we

all did one more month of tutelage called Infantry Training Regiment (ITR).  I

knew  I would be an 0100 (administrative clerk) because I had extended my

enlistment one year to guarantee it.  I figured it was the best way to increase my

chances of getting back alive.


Eddie’s assignment was 0300, infantry.  I remember the look on his face, a quick

wince as he realized what that meant.  Eddie and I went to different units for ITR.

I never saw him again.  I believe he went on to Vietnam.  I went to another month

of training, then to my first duty station in Georgia.  I left there in August ’67  for

my overseas tour.


 In Okinawa I had access to a list of all Marine casualties, which I checked daily. 

In early December, I found out that Eddie had been killed by an explosive device.


What I would like you to consider today if you will honor Eddie is this: are the wars

that the U.S. so readily enmeshes itself in worth the loss of blood and treasure that

inevitably ensues?  Do those who perish really die “for freedom” or “not in vain”? 

What do those phrases even mean?


I implore you to look bey0nd emotional rhetoric created by calculating corporate

hacks to promote sales.  How many rich kids go into combat?  I have no idea what

Eddie’s last thoughts were, but if they were like those that still haunt me, I’m proud

to ask them for him as well.


This one’s for you, Eddie.

  1. kris (lower case) permalink
    May 30, 2011 6:59 pm

    when i think of the loss of life/etc since ww2 i wonder how the people who send these kids to war can live with themselves. i really do not think there has been a war since ww2 that was worth fighting. i mean no disrespect for those who went and died or came home…i just think we were all sold a bill of goods. after the vietnam disaster i thought at least it had taught us something. at least we would not fight in a war that we could not win and had no real point… i guess i was wrong. here’s to you eddie…and to all that followed and are still following..

    • May 31, 2011 9:11 am

      You’re spot on, kris. Because I was honouring Eddie, I hopped off my soapbox as soon as I could. But I was tempted to add that a nation that underfunds education but gives the Pentagon anything it wants is primed for perpetual war.

      • kris (lower case) permalink
        May 31, 2011 8:21 pm

        well they are really getting into class warfare now… that seems to be on going these days.. i think the rich are winning but i think they should never count out the middle class…

      • June 2, 2011 9:56 am

        The increasing polarization of left and right really worries me.

  2. June 1, 2011 8:34 am

    I agree with all anti-war sentiment, while knowing that sometimes countries do have to go to war if they don’t want to be invaded or stand idly by while neighbours and friends are. No matter the reasons, the loss of life is horrible and I can’t argue with the fact that if the old men who make the decisions had to go themselves, or send their own children, they’d be less quick to engage in warfare.

    That said, have you seen this documentary? You might find it of interest:


    • June 2, 2011 10:25 am

      Thanks for the link, Kate. I watched some of it, will likely watch it all with Jude. The electronic distancing of enemies is extremely troubling. I know that those who participated only in the air war in Vietnam had a different view than those of us who actually looked in the faces of the enemy, the civilians and our own dead or wounded troops. And there’s a separate concern. “Winning” in this new type of warfare would only require the neutralizing of one side’s computers. Hackers would be the new warriors.

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