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My conscience finally caught up with me

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Recently, I finally did something I have been meaning to do for more than two years, ever since moving into the retirement home in which I have been living in France since 2016. Soon after arriving here, I learned that I was only one of two foreigners living in Residence Benetin here in Southern Burgundy. The other was a woman from Vietnam.

Immediately I began thinking of apologizing to her for how the USA ravaged Vietnam but I was afraid I would upset her. In my old age--I'm 81-- I have been trying to live by the tenet of the medical profession--"First do no harm."

But as time went by, especially in recent years when I learned of the incredible numbers of suicides of mostly aging American veterans of the fighting in Southeast Asia, I became more and more haunted by the fact that war is not over for so many of us, including those of us who tried to stop the bloodshed.

Finally, my conscience caught up with me. I bought a condolence card and wrote in French, "I wish to apologize for what the country of my birth did to the country of your birth. It was absolutely criminal (C'etait criminal absolu)."

The woman then invited me to sit and we had a short conversation through my iPad, during which I told her the war in Vietnam isn't over for many of us Americans, even the ones of us who tried to stop the conflict because we knew it wasn't only about stopping Communism. It was also about supporting with tax money the U.S. military-industrial complex that a former Republican president and former World War II, five-star general warned us about in his farewell speech from the White House in 1961.

I then went on to tell Mme. Barrand, who might have been married to a Frenchman, that more American veterans of the fighting in Vietnam have committed suicide in recent decades than those who died in combat in the jungles of Vietnam. My guess is that they could no longer live with memories of what they were forced to do or what they witnessed such as the My Lai Massacre, which was as Nazi a thing as done by the SS in France, Russia, Germany and elsewhere in WW II.

There needs to be erected in Washington, D.C., a second Vietnam Wall for these vets.

What I didn't tell her but I will, is that life for all living things on earth will be changing for the better soon since we are now two decades into the astrological age of Aquarius, with emphasis on compassion and love replacing the Age of Pisces with its greed and deception. But we are still in the period of dawn when the light of Aquarius is beginning to expose all that is false and sweeping it away.

God bless us all, no exceptions.

Tom Cahill

Cluny, France

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