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The Gulf by BiJanus

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​There are some stories that from the moment you start to read them you feel you know where they are going to take you, this story felt like one of them - the problem was that it wasn't. Where it takes you is someplace totally different and one that makes you think.

A great story very well told. You can find it here:


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This is the 3rd story I've read from BiJanus' roster and my favorite so far.

His story was so vivid and true to life that I could see the waters of the Gulf just before a down-pour. I had a similar experience during the same war only on the rocky Pacific coast. I have a real appreciation for well-written short stories and this one..

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  • 3 weeks later...

You can't miss the sense of foreboding in the first paragraph, when it states: "For the past few years, I’ve come here only once a year, in the summer, to remember my first love and to visit with him at Sylvan Abbey, where he lies with his brother." But it isn't until we work through the story that we discover just how sad the sadness is.

Every one of my close friends from high school ended up either being drafted or enlisting when we graduated in the late 60s. I was the only one who managed to stay in college and snag a 2-S deferment. Miraculously, every single one of my friends -- as well as the other neighborhood kids, and kids from other graduating classes -- came back. A couple of the crazier ones even re-upped when their initial term ended.

I found myself agreeing with the unnamed narrator of the story when he stated, "I had developed a strong dislike for the war," but for me it was entirely self-serving. I didn't want to get drafted, and I had no interest in marching around in the jungles of southeast Asia. I didn't want my friends over there either, although some of them seemed less troubled by the idea.

One question I was left with -- would a U.S. armed service allow the only other living brother to enlist when the first brother had been killed in action?


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During the Vietnam War era, there were draft classifications that included sole surviving sons, IV-A (also for those who had completed service) or IV-G (exempt from peacetime service due to death of sibling while in military service). Many local draft boards only issued the IV-A classification upon request by parents, and the IV -G classification was confused by the status of US action in Vietnam (no war declaration). I knew some families who lost more than one son. I am happy that all R's friends returned, I hope psychologically stable.

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