On Sunday, Nov. 6, I spoke to more than 80 members and guests of the VFW Post in Lititz PA. The Lititz Record newspaper put the story on its front page--slow news week in Lititz!
Most members of the post were clearly Viet Nam Veterans, plus a few from the Gulf War. It was a lot of fun talking to this group. The talk title was "Who Fights This War?" And many of the stories are in this blog during the time I was in Iraq. The audience laughed when I told them I flew on a Blackhawk piloted by a guy whose day job was flying Gov. Rod Blagoyevich. They laughed again when I said the pilot was not allowed to repeat what he heard on his headset over those eight years.
There were many nods of recognition when I told them about the door gunner on that crew. He rode convoy security on highway one in 2004 long before Humvees were armored and was on his 2nd tour as a door gunner. He had just turned 24.
I talked longer than my allotted 20 minutes and then took maybe 30 questions. The humbling thing for me about the Q&A is that most of the audience was actually asking questions. I know from many public events that a really interesting talk gets short, rapid-fire questions. When an audience is less engaged in the subject they tend to ask question in the form of a five-minute sermonette on what they think about the subject.
Some of the questions were about 100 miles above my pay grade--on war policy and political matters. But many were about Iraq and the young men I had the opportunity to serve with. It was a lot of fun.