Monday, March 23, 2009

A Bill is Coming Due

We mourn the passing of shipmate Steve F. Boody, US Navy Veteran, who went to war in Vietnam on board the USS Koiner, DER 331, a casualty of that war. Shipmate Boody passed away last evening in a New York Hospice, attended to by his wife Ruth.

"No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main -- if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls -- it tolls for thee."
--John Donne
Steve Boody was a casualty of war, a victim of "friendly fire." No, he was not hit by gunfire, but just as assuredly as if he had been, the application of herbicides laced with dioxins and produced at ten times the lethal human dosage by Department of Defense fiat, hit Steve somehow, and cost him his life yesterday.

"Is there some principal of nature which states that we never know the quality of what we have until it is gone?”
--Herman Melville
The herbicides were used to save American lives. They worked. Many US and Allied lives were saved by the clearing of fields of fire in the jungle and along riverbanks, and hiding spots for the enemy were reduced by its application. But now, it has taken and continues to take more lives than it could possibly have saved.

"Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell."
--William Shakespeare [Tempest]
We pray for the departed, and wish his soul well. He ultimately gave his life for his country, wounded about forty years ago, and at least had those four or so decades before the bill came due.

And so, the bell tolls for thee, and thee, and thee, and even those responsible those decades back, and those who still today deny it happened to those who went down to the sea in ships. For them, they've yet to pay the bill, but they surely will, as sure as the tides turn, and the waters ebb and flow, they will pay.

Listen to them, now...

Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell."

They toll for thee!

And now, our shipmate Steve Boody has saluted the watch, and saluted the colors one last time. "Permission granted to leave the ship!"


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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  1. Thank you Jeff. I hope this will give Ruth some comfort.

  2. So sad, so beautiful, I hope we can all take comfort from it and help Ruth get some comfort from it too. She will need all of her friends now, more than ever.
    Thanks Jeff.