Ask Not


Friday, November 22, 1968

After breakfast I told Sumo to take the day off and relax.  None of us had slept well, but the news of his father-in-law’s passing was an emotional burden for him.  Our routine for the “Southern Meal” * was well rehearsed and easy to prepare.

Fernando brought a poster he snagged from Freedom Hill — it was a menu for Thanksgiving Day.  The colorful image of a turkey wearing a Vietnamese rice hat was an odd choice for artwork.  We posted it on the partition of the Officer/Staff mess.  With only five days left before the big meal, we had not received any essential ingredients.  The menu included some items that weren’t on our list to prepare:  Parker House rolls with butter, mincemeat pie, fruitcake, hard candy and assorted nuts.  These items were a mystery to me, but I decided . . . Don’t Ask.

Sumo relieved me at 1500 saying, “It’s better if I’m working; why don’t you get some rest?”  I took advantage of his suggestion, and after showering, I started a letter to Jenny.  I always dated my letters and realized this was the anniversary of JFK’s assassination.  As a sophomore in high school, I was impressed with his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech.  In 1963 we watched the black and white images of his funeral all weekend on TV (four months before I joined the Corps).

“Ask what you can do for your country” . . . It was an inspirational  moment in our history.

* See previous blog, “The Southern Meal” February 23, 1968

Next Edition:  A Rude Awakening

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