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Chaplains Corner


"Good Grief, Charlie Brown". This is a phrase used often in the comic strip Peanuts, by Charlie Brown and others, most notably Peppermint Patty, when she is displeased, with Charlie’s speech or actions.

Good Grief, is that possible?

We all know what a burden grief can be, but yes, there can be a grief, that is good and leads, to good.

April 25, 1969, was a day, that caused, much grief, to me and to many others. Flying into a hot landing zone, on the eastern side of the Ashau Valley, in Viet Nam, our chopper was shot down, by the NVA (North Vietnamese Army). Three of us, infantry men ended up in the bomb crater, which was our LZ and three more ended up on the higher ground on the other side of the downed chopper. As bad as that was, it got worse. As I was reloading, I glanced back towards the chopper, to see my friend and a chopper pilot hit by the same RPG. That image and all that took place are still played out in my mind, every day. When it happened, I passed it off, with some profanity and continued to communicate on the radio and return fire, to our enemies. I did not have time, to grieve the horrific death of my friend, until much later.

I had Bad Grief. I had anger, rage, and fear, to name a few things. I became angry, the NVA killed my friend, in such a violent way and I could not prevent it. With the anger,I developed a sometimes, uncontrollable rage and would lash out at anyone or anything. I was not afraid of death, but developed a fear of losing anyone, I knew.

I finally realized, I had survivors guilt and yet, there was not anything else, I could have done, to keep my friend from being killed. Learning to deal with the pains of bad grief made me face the truth; that I am not always in control of life’s situations. God is always in control. My bad grief caused me to seek out a personal relationship with God. God raised up individuals in my life, who were combat vets, who taught me to live life, again.

Yes, from time to time, the bad grief surfaces, but I have learned to deal with it. There is no reason for a combat vet to suffer the consequences of war, by his or herself. There are many organizations and individuals, standing ready to answer the distress calls of other combat veterans.

My brother’s burden, is my burden.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galations 6:2 KJV

For every man shall bear his own burden Galations 6:5 KJV

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