Born on the Fourth of July: The Long Journey Home

Ron Kovic from 2005 although even more relevant two years later:

I am extremely grateful to Akashic Books and its publisher, Johnny Temple, for bringing out this new edition of Born on the Fourth of July at such a crucial moment in our nation’s history. For the past two years we have been involved in a tragic and senseless war in Iraq. As of this writing, over 1,500 Americans have died and more than 11,000 have been wounded, while tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, many of them women and children, have been killed.

I have watched in horror the mirror image of another Vietnam unfolding. So many similarities, so many things said that remind me of that war thirty years ago which left me paralyzed for the rest of my life. Refusing to learn from our experiences in Vietnam, our government continues to pursue a policy of deception, distortion, manipulation, and denial, doing everything it can to hide from the American people their true intentions and agenda in Iraq. The flag-draped caskets of our dead begin their long and sorrowful journeys home hidden from public view, while the Iraqi casualties are not even considered worth counting–some estimate as many as 100,000 have been killed so far.

The paraplegics, amputees, burn victims, the blinded and maimed, shocked and stunned, brain damaged and psychologically stressed, now fill our veterans hospitals. Most of them were not even born when I came home wounded to the Bronx V.A. in 1968. The same lifesaving medical-evacuation procedures that kept me alive in Vietnam are bringing home a whole new generation of severely maimed from Iraq.