Chessienut, I don't know how to help you get past your sadness and grief; I really don't. I will say that as mortal men we are imperfect in many, many ways. Sensible and rational human beings should abhor the unnecessary taking of life; that is reserved for the Creator to judge. I believe this unfortunate episode in your life was presented to you for a reason and your reaction was expected. What did you learn from this tragedy? That war is evil, I hope.
In 1966 I enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight against communist ideology. They didn't have to draft me, I went. Although I never saw combat I was scared but mentally ready to engage what I thought was the enemy, if called upon. In my limited education I knew about slavery and despotism imposed by communist regimes. I saw pictures of the horror of mass starvation inflicted upon 10 million people in the Ukraine in 1932-1933 during Stalin's reign of terror to achieve his insane plan of agricultural collectivism (see: http://holodomorct.org/history.html). I did not want Communism to come to America despite the wishes of Jane Fonda and her communist compatriots.
Lucky for me the war was vastly unpopular thanks to the many young people who protested the senseless death of U.S. military personnel and innocent civilians in Southeast Asia.
Slowly over time I learned how corrupt and deceitful our government truly has become over the decades.
On June 8, 1967, the nation almost lost a naval ship with 34 American sailors and Marines being killed and over 170 wounded due to President Johnson protecting his political alliance with Israeli lobbyists.
The following year on January 23, 1968, Johnson demonstrated again his incompetence and disregard for U.S. Navy personnel by allowing the North Koreans to commit an act of piracy and capture one of our naval vessels, killing a sailor and imprisoning the crew for 11 months. The ship sits in Pyongyang Harbor today, a stark reminder that LBJ was a whoremaster to the political establishment and his abject failure as commander in chief.
I've come to learn that "defending the country" means protecting the American people and our republic, as fractured as it has become. Too often the government assumes that men and women join the armed forces to protect the center of power, Washington D.C. and all the sycophants that grovel to the elitists who serve themselves and not us. Not for me, not anymore.
As old as I am I will serve again to protect you and your family, my family, our neighbors, our communities, our natural rights of freedom and liberty. There is no shame in that, no disgrace.
I think you to be a good man, Chessienut. I will stand by you.