FB post

From: Perry L.
Subject: FB post
Date: March 30, 2019 at 6:32:09 PM MDT

Just thought you’d like to see the post I just put on Facebook:
This morning I went to the second annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration for the state of Maryland. It was attended by over 1,000 VN vets with their spouses and some children. Talking with other VN vets and listening to the speakers brought back memories of my time spent there. Little scenes flit through my mind as I listened to them. But there was one speech that brought back the memory of how and why I ended up in Vietnam. After basic and tech school I was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. As a supply clerk I worked in an office with mostly civilians but some other military individuals, both men and women. Us lower enlisted people were assigned clean-up duties around the office by a staff sergeant. What started me thinking about this particular staff sergeant was what one of the speakers mentioned about the Missing Man Table, a new item at VA hospitals, military dining halls, and other military gatherings. Items were arranged on the table for a guest but were actually symbols to remember MIA and POW military members. Frequently a Xtian bible is including to represent the supposed religion of the military. If a religious memento is included it is always a Xtian bible. So why did this item remind me of that particular staff sergeant way back in 1967? It was he, knowing that I was a practicing member of the Jewish faith, constantly assigned me to clean the bathrooms. And in particular to stick my hand in the toilet to spit shine the part under water. But he added the caveat that if I agreed to attend his church, I would no longer have to clean the bathrooms. As a result of his harassment of me I volunteered for Vietnam to get away from him. Looking back decades later I consider that one of my better decisions in my life. But why did the Missing Man Table remind me of that episode? Because just as his harassment and coercion of me almost 53 years ago was illegal, the Missing Man Table is a violation of the Constitution and military regulations. While I had nobody to protect my rights then, there is an organization now that protects the rights of military members. It is called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) headed by Mikey Weinstein. They have been fighting this type of violation and others that involve religion and the military. I have been supporting them for over a decade. And while they’re almost a hundred thousand clients are harassed by Xtian officers and enlisted, about 80% of them are Xtians who are deemed “not Xtian enough.” That causes problems with morale and discipline. Their current well publicized case involves an Army Muslim woman who was ordered to remove her hajib by her (Xtian) Command Sergeant Major. So, this also causes problems with foreign relations involving Muslim nations as well as our conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the Middle East.
Perry L.

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