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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Be all you can be..." 'James "Kimo" Rosen ( A true story)

4
James "Kimo Rosen remembers the past and how destiny  got him  where he is now...
Artillery in Hawaii does not always mean a physical thing, it can be symbolic as well, although above was definitely physical.
The Vietnam war was coming to an end and the draft was a lottery system back in 1974 when I turned 18...

My lottery number came up in the high 200's., making me not worry to much about being drafted. One year later the  draft was abolished and the United States has had an all volunteer armed services for the first time, and remains all volunteer to this day....


It was back in 1975 my father began telling me stories of his war days, back in what he called , "The Big one," (WW-2)


I was just back from a cross country sojourn with my high school sweetheart that included the United states and Canada by means of Greyhound bus with the 'Greyhound Ameripass' that let's one travel unlimited miles all over Canada and the US for a small monthly fee, we went  for two months.


All of my father's war  stories got me thinking... I decided to go see an army recruiter, I was mesmerized by this recruiter promising me the world and telling  story after story of all the beautiful woman out there in the world.(in those days that's how they enticed young guys)  The U.S was beginning to withdraw troops from 'Nam' and for the first time ever the Army was offering a two year option with all the perks and benefits of what four years used to bring. They had a two year option of artillery in Hawaii!  I took it and signed on the dotted line.

I passed the written test with flying colors and after turning my head and coughing passed the physical exam with no problem.


My father seemed pleased, and the next day I met my recruiter at the Federal building in downtown Buffalo, N.Y. I'll never forget I walked into a room with a couple of hundred other confused guys, we were all told we were going to the same boot-camp somewhere in Georgia, from there we would go onto our assignments, mine being Artillery in Hawaii.


I decided to call my father from a pay phone in the lobby since we did not have cell phones back then. I told him the far out news, "I signed all the paper work and was about to make a huge plunge in life." My father asked me to please wait, he wanted to see me immediately and since his office was only 10 minutes away I waited.


My father was there in a flash with tears in his eyes said, "I thought you were joking and just fantasizing about this Army thing?" I told him I passed all the tests and signed every piece of paper they shoved in front of me, and was leaving for boot-camp tomorrow. My dad asks if there was anyway to  postpone this or get out of it? I said ,"I signed everything."


My father wanted me to stay, he promised me employment at his place of employment since he was the boss. I'll  never forgot he goes up to my recruiter and asks him, "is there anyway my son can get out of this, I think he made a mistake?" The recruiter tells my father has your son taken the oath? Until you raise your right hand and swear on the bible and take the oath of the United states Army the transaction is not complete.  Two minutes later the sergeant recruiter screamed at the top of his lungs for everyone to march into the oath room, I lagged behind.


In many ways I wish I had not stayed behind. My mother had bone cancer and eventually passed away 7 years later, my father re-married and I remained a renegade,ironically and ultimately years later moving to Hawaii...


 The army's motto is "Be all you can be."  I may have fallen short of being all I could be, but somehow still made it to Hawai'i and although I am not physically involved in artillery, most days bring on symbolic artillery one way or another. Destiny  and divinity somehow always seem to prevail!

   P.S.  Happy Birthday to Adam and Eve and the creation of the Universe! Today is Rosh Hashanah, (Jewish new Year!) It is tradition to have apples and honey to welcome in a sweet years and to say to all L'shanah Tovah, may you be entered into the book of life, Jew and gentile alike!




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15 comments:

Diana LaRussa said...

JR
As the high school sweetheart, I think I can talk with some authority here...yes, you passed the 'turn your head and cough' exam (as I remember..but going into the military would have proved heart breaking for those of us who loved you deeply.
Never look back-Faye was destined to go in the way the Lord wanted and Bernie was your saving grace (I would never have said that at that time tho).
You are blessed and have many great friends now-I enjoy reading all your posts and lookie here-you are nearly viral now and I don't mean with the flu.
peace out and (I hope you never tell anyone to ..sit on your lap and you'll talk about the 1st thing that pops up).
love, Diana
PS-how do I change that awful profile pic-it's too old..?

James "Kimo" Rosen said...

Diana, Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Buy me a pizza? Remember that one? and no do not know how to change profile photo without a little trial and error myself.

Judith Whitehead said...

via Facebook;"Great story,,,I can almost hear your dad speaking those words...hey did you loose the beard??"

Me said...

still have beard, that photo is 4 years old...

Anonymous said...

via facebook;"You, Debbie Eayrs and Judith Whitehead like this..."

Douglas Dunn said...

Oh boy, could I relate to this!

I'm a few years older than you, and in the very first draft lottery, my twin brother and I came up with a lottery number of 64 (which is quite low out of 365) while the war was just ramping up.

I did not support the draft or the war, for myself or anyone else. My brother was a talented flute player and enlisted in the Army band (had to pass numerous auditions to beat all the others trying to avoid the draft the same way). I used student deferments and other legal strategies to avoid going, and became adroit at teaching others how to do the same. A long story for another time.

I think the civil rights and anti war movements of the 1960's galvanized many of us in my generation to lifelong liberalism as the true "pro life" (anti war, anti hate, anti death penalty) constituency.

My father also served in World War II, as did an uncle of mine who I was very close to, who got to know the Philippine island of my sweetheart wife's birth (Cebu) several years before she (or I) was born. World War II was not the same as Vietnam. WWII was a defensive war following an unprovoked invasion. Vietnam was a military-industrial complex war for the profits of corporations. Many of the bravest fighting men (and women) of WWII were the fiercest opponents of Vietnam.

Karimaonthebrightside said...

Via facebook; "and anytime you want to buy me a pizza is just fine ♥ (this time I'd like my name spelled out in veggies tho.....lifestyle changes ;))

Diana LaRussa said...

via facebook;"JR



As the high school sweetheart, I think I can talk with some authority here...yes, you passed the 'turn your head and cough' exam (as I remember..but going into the military would have proved heart breaking for those of us who loved you deeply.



Never look back-Faye was destined to go in the way the Lord wanted and Bernie was your saving grace (I would never have said that at that time tho).



You are blessed and have many great friends now-I enjoy reading all your posts and lookie here-you are nearly viral now and I don't mean with the flu.



peace out and (I hope you never tell anyone to ..sit on your lap and you'll talk about the 1st thing that pops up)."



love, Diana

John Rogers said...

via Facebook;"Jimmy, I'm glad that you did not go through with it as I probably would have never met one of my best friends. Thanks for the story as mine is completely different about the draft and the war. And as Diane said "Thank you Bernie". Happy Rosh Hashana."

James "kimo" Rosen said...

Thanks Everyone!

Diana Larussa said...

via facebook;"@John-it's Diana..."

James "Kimo" Rosen said...

John and Diana you two actuall met back in 1976 in Santa barbara when Diana was viditing me!? Remember?

Diana LaRussa said...

via facebook;"he dosen't have a face, so I'm afraid I don't remeber him..I do remember Kamala tho..."

Me said...

He lived across the streert from me, and back then every gal in southern california was after this guy!

Diana LaRussa said...

via facebook;"I was after you, so I didn't notice anyone else...duh"