CHAPTER I: Youth Years (Amityville, New York - Coney Island)
Born on Long Island I remember visiting Coney Island as one of the few time my family actually did something together. I remember eating hot dogs and riding the Ferris wheel vividly.
(Spokane, Washington - Puget Sound)
Living on an Air Force base with my spouse-abusing alcoholic father was a bit traumatic and when I had a chance to get away from the base I jumped at it. A four-hour trip to the Seattle Worlds Fair and the surrounding Puget Sound beach in 1962 was the highlight of my alone time growing up at that time.
(Biloxi, Mississippi - Gulf of Mexico)
In 1964 my Father and Mother divorced after several years of incompatibility.
In the short time I lived there I would find a fishing rod go out on my bicycle for 4 miles to throw a line into the Gulf a Mexico. I don’t remember every catching anything but the alone time was precious.
CHAPTER II: Teen Years (Sunset Beach, Hawaii - Pacific Ocean)
After moving to Hawaii with my father I began finding my artistic voice. Initially creating rock songs (to be like Hendrix) with my guitar while sitting on Sunset Beach in Haleiwa. This isolation truly evolved into music being my principal means of expression.
(Cam Ran Bay, Vietnam - Black China Sea)
As a combat soldier in Vietnam I took 30 days off from fighting to form a musical group and play for wounded soldiers in hospitals and for those who were isolated at firebases on the front lines. A particular memory from these performances was the juxtaposition of those who were in the hospital beds at Cam Ran Bay suffering from the trauma of combat and the beautiful blue waves of the South China Sea just outside their windows. I realized that sometimes what seems beautiful could be a facade to the realities of life.
I remember watching out the window of the plane on my DEROS to home and that sea disappeared into the distance. I was finally flying home to what I later came to realize was a new and different reality than I expected……. I now look at who we are as a society and the world around us through a juxtaposition prism that I remember from that moment in Cam Ran Bay Vietnam in 1970.
CHAPTER III. ADULT YEARS A Veterans’ Lament (Chicago, Illinois - Lake Michigan)
On September 11th, 2001 I was in Vietnam for a performance of my Symphony For The Sons of Nam by the Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra. While waiting in a Saigon Hotel, the TV displayed the destruction of the World Trade Centers. I immediately called home and made plans to return to Carol and Becky.
Once back in Chicago I took a stroll along the Lake, as water has always soothe my soul, and contemplated where we were heading as a Country.
In 2003 we began a new aggressive conflict that sent our young men and women into battle. As with Vietnam those young souls who were fortunate to returned from home had wounds and trauma that we can never truly comprehend.
As a veteran I have camaraderie with all our military veterans as we have all contributed to life that we live.
I have a deep sadness for my fellow veterans who did not make it back from the battlefield. I wrote this last chapter in memoriam as a sat looking out at Lake Michigan and realizing how truly lucky I was to have returned from war while so many of my brothers and sisters in arms gave the ultimate sacrifice……. I truly mourn this lost of life in service to our way of life……….
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