And He Served His Country...

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And He Served His Country...

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by DenDeja
 
Filmstrip 
‹‹The Healer Has Her day   a dying man's hands  And He Served His Country...  Jack in the green   festival

  Description for And He Served His Country...

Description by DenDeja

DenDeja

a homeless viet nam vet, dying of cancer, shared his story with me

Comments for And He Served His Country... (2)

  1. #1 Mile
    Re: And He Served His Country...
    Great shot!
  2. #2 DenDeja
    Re: And He Served His Country...
    Mile...thank you....I have known him for years. Walking my dog (originally Meg...my staffie...now Meat) on the bluff in Belmont Heights, Long Beach, Ca...I see him in the morning hours, just after he has risen from his bedroll in the bushes. As the bluff is under re-development, he has been misplaced, finding shelter wherever he can on any given day/night. His coffee laced with vodka to ease his pain as he is slowly losing his battle with cancer. First it was the spleen...now it's the pancreas. His hands scarred from the melanoma surgeries and treatment. The VA hospital does what it can, he tells me when I ask "how are you doing? hanging in there?"...Oh, I'm still above ground" he tosses off with a glint of a smile, and says "there are so many waiting in line that are worse off than me". His steadfast refusal to complain takes every bit of resolve in me to not burst out in tears and want to scream at the injustice I feel has been done to him. His spirit and character inspire me....and break my heart at the same time. Each holiday, Christmas....Easter....New Years....Mother's Day...any significant day in which most of the nation celebrates, he builds a display on the bluff using "found objects" and stuffed toys...whatever he can cobble together..in celebration of that day. It has become a ritual recognized by the neighbors whom live in the vicinity near Bluff Park. The local newspaper FINALLY did a story on him this last Christmas....the one that might be his last. He told me, on the day I took these photos, he is trying to get into the transitional housing offered to vets of foreign wars...but the line is long....and he's not sure if he could handle "all them rules and regs they have...like a g'dam parent tellin his kids what to do"....but he would like to try it for a while. His family is in Oklahoma...what's left of them....and his kids are in Dallas. He served and took shrapnel in Viet Nam...but he survived. He's a navy man until the end. When his time is through, he confides to me, he wants to be remembered in that order....."family man and soldier...teller of stories and jokes....and he served his country