Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Day 42 - Photo 42. Charles C. Caldera says the last thing he remembered was a flash of light. Forty years ago, during a foot patrol through the jungles of Vietnam, the former Marine, hit a "trip wire" that detonated a "booby trap" or explosive devise. "I got blown up." Said Charles. He actually chuckled at the memory. "The guys found the wire after I got blown up, it'd (the explosive device) been set up in a bush that was walking past. They told me I died twice on the operating table." Charles looked down at the leg that no longer existed, the one torn from his body a lifetime ago. "The blast took my right leg, part of my butt and left me with about 50 shrapnel wounds all over my body." He began showing me the scars that peppered his upper body. He should me spots where the tiny pieces of metal were still working their way out of his body 40 years later.

I made notes as Charles spoke. He pointed to where I'd written his age. "Actually. I'll be 66 next month. I'm 65. But, I'll be 66. Next month. 66." And he pointed to the paper again. I said, "66. Right." And wrote it down. Charles smiled and said thank you.

Thank you Charles. Happy Birthday and thank you. Today is Veterans Day.

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