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Harry’s Suicide Note

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Harry's Note

[1972] The first man I dated for more than one dinner after my divorce was a long-time, full-time, anti-war activist who seemed to take in his own gut every bullet and every burst of napalm fired in Vietnam. He despaired of an end to the killing and we could not save him from his despair. Harry is among the unsung dead of the Vietnam War. I wonder how many others there are.

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COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS WEBSITE
polaroid_billy @ 2003-09-13 said:
Harry, I think I understand how you felt. Not as deeply or all consuming, but somehow...I don`t know. Life is strange and sad and funny and strange.

yolima @ 2003-09-14 said:
Such a poignant note. And how sad he could not go on living....

av_producer @ 2003-09-14 said:
So sad.

setya @ 2003-09-14 said:
:(

Kelly @ 2003-09-15 said:
Ronni, I just discovered your brave and wonderful flog an hour ago, and have read the whole thing from start to the present. Your selection of images and your words are most compelling, and I’m looking forward to future installments.

Comments

How devastating Harry's death must have been for all of you to whom he reached out in his note. One never gets over that sort of thing. Thank you for being a survivor, for reaching out to enrich the lives of many--including me.

You always wonder what you might have said or done to prevent such an unnecessary loss, but in the end, you have to respect that person's choice. People always say the trite thing - "what a waste", but is it truly? Ultimately, a suicide does cause a ripple effect, thus affecting far more than the individual might have imagined. Not the best way to deal with life's disappointments, nor the best way to communicate, but I think I can understand the feelings of hopelessness and exhaustion Harry must have experienced. There, but for the Grace of God, go most of us...

Historians will be arguing to the end of time what that war cost us. It changed everyone and everything for all time. Just between the '64 campaign and the '68 campaign all our relationships with our American institutions... everything we'd been told we could believe in and depend on... shown to be illusion.
Or maybe not... maybe it was business as usual for some families.

Oh yes . . .

But the grace of god and all that.

I was on the brink of suicide for many years both before and after I went to Vietnam in '67-68. In fact, my volunteering to go to Vietnam was in itself a suicide gesture, and I did everything in my power to try to get killed. It wasn't my fate.

The saddest thing to me now that I am in my 7th decade is that as a nation, as a society, as a generation we didn't learn a thing from that "dirty little war," the longest and most ignoble of our sordid history, since we are doing it all over again in spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds in Iraq, creating another cohort of forever changed inexorably soldiers, families and folks like Harry.

Harry is dead; long live Harry.

Suicide is beyond sad and tragic under any circumstance; a loss on all counts. The questions that linger; the answers that never come.

When leaders announce they don't read history (nor, apparently haven't learned from living during the making of our last military debacle,) we are certainly at high risk to repeat our mistakes. Seems we have. A tragedy for all, including Harry.

very sad paper...
did he commit suicide, or just died at war?

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