Thursday, August 13, 2009

Long Tan Day or Viettnam Vet's day

This is for the Nam Vets I know and for all those I’m yet to meet
God Bless each and every one of you and
“Welcome Home”
For those who are no longer with us, may you
Rest in Peace.

18th August every year is Long Tan Day, when we stop and remember our Vietnam Vets. I know there are many Vets in the world from all different War’s and believe me they have my utmost respect, but the Nam Vet’s hold a special place in my heart as I’m married to a Nam Vet.
Nam Vets are some of the proudest men I know, they don’t ask or expect help from anyone and when they do ask for help, it because they need it badly, and then they have to fight to get the help they need, because our Government has no bloody idea how bad it is for some of these men. How long will they have to fight, it been forty years now, For God sake these men have been to War for this country, will there fight ever end.
I can only talk about what I know; Ross has been fighting to get the Vet pension for seven years. For seven years, paper work has been going backwards and forwards, from doctor to Ross to Government departments over and over, there been medicals and test, there been visit to the psychiatrist, there been the odd operation and the list goes on, are we any close to the end of all this No I don’t think so. You see they want proof and there no way of getting proof for what they want, you see a lot come back to Agent Orange and for that there is no proof there is only the word of the men who where there and what they believe in their hearts and soul to be true.
It like when they send Ross to the psychiatrist, I have to go too, so they can put me through the 3rd degree to make sure he not lying to them, some of the things they ask me are so personal and so bloody hurtful and degrading. Only one psychiatrist has ever taken in to count, that I love this man and that we been married twenty six years, the rest have treated me like I was a no body.
Having said all that, I also know my Ross is one of the lucky ones, for I know men who are, so much worse off than Ross, who are in unbelievable pain day in and day out, who need help and are not getting it and this make me so very mad, for they have every right to be help, and they should not have to beg for the help they need.
I have seen how many of our Nam Vet have suffered and are still suffering, because they did what their country asks them to do and now it about time, for this Government got off it butt and do what is right by these men, they have wait forty years and that forty years to long for most of them and for some it too late now.
Is this only happening to Australian Nam Vets no, it happening to all Nam Vat’s, they when to Vietnam because there Government ask them to go, now it time there Governments got of their butt and help these men out!!
You know what really worries me, now today as I write this, we have men and woman from our Army, Air Force, Navy and Peace Keepers, in many country in the world, and like the Nam Vet’s, they are there doing the job this Government sent them to do, now what worries me is when they get home, will they have to go through the same hell, that that the Nam Vet’s are going through to get any help they need.
Now I would like to ask you all to do one thing for me on the 18th of August, if you see a Nam Vets, where ever you live, Please, shake his hand and “Welcome Him Home”
The rest of this blog is something I wrote six months ago and blog, for those of you who have read it I hope you don’t mind that I’m blogging it again, this year Long Tan Day, well it feel different, I don’t know why, maybe it that I’m beginning to think, these men will never see justice done, but all I know is this year it just feel so different.

S.M. Mac Arthur©

Vietnam Vet’s

On the wall in our home is a Picture frame, in it is photos of Ross take in Vietnam, a medal, badge, certificate and his dog tags. Some time I can walk past it and I’m ok, but at certain time of the year, like ANZAC Day it has me in tears. Because the pictures are of a young man of twenty who was conscripted to the army, who did what his country ask him to do, but on his return to the country of this birth was treated like a criminal.
For me the first I knew about the Vietnam War was, when I was about ten or eleven, only one young man in my home town was conscripted to go to Vietnam, I can’t really remember him going, but I can remember him coming home. He had changed so much from how I remember him, he was now a very quite person. It was like he had lost his soul.
I can remember he was doing a job at the pub for Dad, he was out the back in the yard I took him out morning tea, we were talking, when this man his age come into the yard, and called his name. They have been in Vietnam together. This was the first time I think I had ever seen real mateship, there was no need for words, there was this bond between these two men, that didn’t need any words.
I know for some people who don’t know or are not married to a Vet’s from any War, find it hard to understand how these Vet suffer from the time they spent serving their country. I know Ross is one of the lucky one he has very few problems, but for some, they suffer so much.
I can only talk about Vietnam Vet’s because they are the one I know most about, some of these men suffer so bad from what they had to do and what they saw as young men doing the job their country ask them to do.
Ross talks about being sprayed with that wonderful mix they call Agent Orange, and how over night the forest for miles around would die, and how everything would be wet from it, tents, cloths and worst of all the men. It would be sprayed over the camps and the men to keep the forest at bay, so they could see the enemy coming. Many Vietnam Vets have disable children, for some it’s just not the one child, some have never been able to have their own children and like us have adopted. Some have fat lumps over their body not just one or two, but too many to count, some men like Ross have had to have the big ones (the size of a softball) cut out. Many have skin problems that Doctors can’t find a cause for and can’t seem to stop them from getting them. Most I know believer this is all from being sprayed with Agent Orange.
Many talk of nightmares, from what they have seen, nightmares that are still with them forty years later, nightmares only another Vet can understand, seeing your mate die and not being able to stop it or do anything to help, some say all they want was time to say goodbye, but as we know in war there never time for thing like that. There is a poem called “One Child Lost” by Larry W. Gordon, the poem talk about him see a child died from a mortar attack in Vietnam and the horror he feels. I can’t blog it all here as it too long, but the last few lines read.

Down the years
I’ve borne this dream
Of horror, and death
It never seems
To darken nor diminish
And will be with me,
Until my life is finished,
I weep still
And weigh the cost,
Vietnam isn’t worth
Even one child lost.

For some man they found it hard to get on with their lives when they got back, people thought they would just move back into the job they left and all would be ok, and for some that how it was, they found they could shut it all out, but for most it didn’t work that way, some to this day are still looking to find their way back. Ross works for a group call Legacy, we have had people call us asking if we know someone they looking for, mostly a brother or son, one lady I ask when she last saw her brother, she told me the day he got home, forty odd years later she was still looking for him. So many men are home here in Australia but they are still lost to the ones who love them.
I have talk to some Vietnam Vet from overseas; this is just not like this for Aussie Vet, it like it for Vet all over the world,
I know many Vets who are disabled or partly disable from their time in Vietnam, to get any help from the Government they have to fight, for every single thing, when will their fight end, they don’t want that much, some only want help to pay their medical bills, some are fighting to get the pension, do they not deserve the pension after fighting for our freedom.
Vietnam was the first war where every day on our T.V and radio, we could see and hear what was going on, as it was happening, people could see the horror that was happening to our soldiers, the where march in the street here to bring our soldiers home, yet when they got home they were treated like criminals.
Many Vietnam Vet feel like they have let people down, to me it is us who have let them down. For God sake it took us forty years to Welcome these men home. How can this be, we welcome home our sporting hero for wining a test match. But it takes use forty year to Welcome Home men who fight for our country.
We now have Soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and Peace Keepers in many country around the world, I hope for them when they get home they are Welcome Back as they should be, as Hero, for that what they are, they are the best Australia has and to me any one who put on a uniform and fights for this country is and always will be “A Hero”.
S.M. Mac Arthur©

As I’m posting this we just had word to say Ross has been knocked back on the pension again. Eight months ago they told Ross to get it he need to be working part time and that what he been doing, now they say he working one hour a week to much. The Advocate who is helping us say, we are not finish yet and then he not giving up on us.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

White Cross

When you’re out driving or away on holidays and you see the White Cross’s on the side of the road does it make you stop and think.

Now I don’t know about other country but here a White Cross is there, because there been a car accident and someone died.

We hear every day that something has to be done about the people dying on our roads, that the Police should do more, to stop it.

How can the Police stop it, IT NOT THEM speeding, it not them drinking and driving, it not them smoking dope and driving, it not them get in the car and not wearing a seat belt, it not them talk on the mobile phones as they drive and it not them putting a child in to the car without a child seat and harness.


We are the one getting into our cars, it up to us to be safe, it up to us not to drink or take drug and drive, it up to us to make sure our children are safe in OUR car.

It not up to the police. What do we want a police at everyone house making sure we do what we should be doing. And it not just our young people, who are doing wrong ,it adults too.

How can we expect our children not to drink and drive, if they see Mum and Dad doing it all the time, our kids learn from us. We have to do our bit to stop the death on our roads.

The police need our help in this, as someone who lost a brother in a car accident in the day when there was not seat belts, I know a seat belt would have saved his life, just like it did when my daughter roll her car four years ago,


I know the law, has to change in some ways too, it has to start working with the police as well, what I mean is like the hoon laws, if it there first time, the car is taken of these people for twenty four hours, that is not punishing then, it need to be longer, they need to know it will hurt them, that they will be with out there cars for a long time.

We had an accident here, four years ago, three family lost their kids in it, they where all teenagers, the driver and one other lived, the driver had no license, the car was not license, and he had been drinking, is he in jail, NO HE NOT, why because he was left a paraplegic, and yes I’m very sorry he is like that, BUT he know when he got in that car what he was doing was wrong, the judge said he was being punish by the life he now has, WHAT ABOUT THE FAMILY WHO LOST THERE KIDS, are they not being punish too.

Another thing is car’s them self, the speed limit is what 110km an hour, why than are we making cars that go so much faster, we put seventeen year old behind the wheel of a car that can do 200km hour and we think they won’t try it out.

I know in some country the speed limit higher, and that we import cars from them, but surely there some way of stoping car from going higher than our speed limit.

To me one of things that dose need changing is the drinking and driving age, I think eighteen is way too young, if it when back to twenty one I think it would be better; kids would be just that much older.

Maybe I’m wrong in how I'm thinking about this, I just know something has to be done to stop the deaths on our roads, and it has to be done soon.

We are getting more and more White Cross’s along our roads every day, all I know is we need to stop it and we need to do it soon.

S.M.MacArthur ©

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Girly the Beer's bad

As some of you know, I grow up in a small country town and live in a hotel for a time. The whole family work in the Pub and we have regular’s that make working there fun. As I was only seventeen and I should not have been working the bar as I was under age, but being six foot tall and local girl I got away with it.
Mt Magnet is a gold mining town in Western Australia, on Friday the mine close down at noon and most of the men would head for one of the three pubs.
Now most of the men were good, they would drink slow and have something to eat, but you always got one or two who would hit the beer and you would have to cut their beer off because they got too full and very loud.
One Friday I was working the bar, with Anne and Dad, one of the men Peter, had been there from noon and was very loud and very full, as he was in my bar I need to cut his beer off, so as was custom, I pull him a beer set it on the bar in front of him and said “This is your last Peter”, much to his horror.
But Peter being Peter could not just go home, he took a mouth full of the beer I had give him, cough and splutter and yell very loudly, “Bloody hell, what are you doing girly, try to kill me with a bad beer, this beer’s off”.
Now the call of bad beer always silences the bar, as it did this day.
My Father walk up to Peter, pick up his beer, had a mouthful, and look at me saying “He right, the beer’s bad, get that keg off now "and off Dad when to the cool room and unspeared the keg as Anne and I close taps down. You could hear the whoosh of the spear coming out all over the bar.
By now Anne and I are trying hard not to laugh as we had a fair idea what was what was going to happen.
Dad yell for the pipes to be wash out with water to get rid of the bad beer, and water flow, then he yell for them to be drain of water for the new keg.
Dad voice could be hear all over the bar, there was a shout of “Beers coming girls” as the spear could be heard going into the keg with the same whoosh as when it come out, follow by “Is it flowing yet”.
Then Dad was back behind the bar “Susan pour the man his beer”, I pour Peter his new beer put in front of him with the words “How is it Peter” he took a mouth full and said it was good ‘In fact it’s the best beer I’ve had had all day”, I said ‘Well that good because it still your last”, the look of horror was back on his face as he left the bar telling the blokes coming in the door he was being kick out by the girly.
Now this is how it when, Peter bad beer was also the best beer he had had all day, how can this be.
Easy Dad had taken spear out of and speared the same keg. The men and Peter in the bar heard the whoosh of the spear coming out and saw the water come out of the taps and then heard the spear going back in and that all they care about, not one of then got up to see what was going on in the cool room.
Dad knew the beer was good because when he run the keg line’s in the morning’s he was always in the habit of try it because he knew what a bad beer call could do. What happen was all for show and as always it work just fine, and everyone when back to having a beer and a chat like nothing had happen.
S.M Mac Arthur©

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Breast Cancer in Men

Breast Cancer In Men

All of us women know about Breast cancer, we all have our Mammogram or Ultrasound every two years. But how many of us know that men too can get Breast cancer;

“Yes men can get Breast Cancer too”

Many people believe it to be only women who get Breast Cancer. Although very rare, about 1% of Breast Cancers every year occurs in adult males. But unlike Breast Cancer in women we don’t hear as much about it, and it time we did and it time it was talk about it more, because that the only way lives will be save.

Breast Cancer in men develops in the small amount of breast tissue found behind a man's nipple. Breast cancer can occur in men at any age but most commonly in men aged 50 years and older.

Each year in Australia about 100 men are told they have breast cancer. Breast cancer in men is the same disease that women get and like women the quicker it found the better the prognosis and the best way to find it is self examination. Prognosis for men with breast cancer is similar to what it is for women at the same age and stage of the cancer.

Just like for women having a family history of female or male breast cancer on either side of the family can increase a man risk of developing breast cancer.

The most common symptom of breast cancer in men is a painless lump close to the nipple. Other symptoms include nipple discharge, a change in the shape or appearance of the nipple, a change in the shape or appearance of the breast, such as swelling or dimpling, swollen lymph nodes under the arm or any pain that is unusual and does not go away.

Like with women it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you see any of these change in your breast see a Doctor right away, finding it early will mean a better chance of effective treatment. The treatment for Breast Cancer in men is the same as it is for women; the sooner you see a Doctor the better, the sooner you have treatment the better.

I have learnt a lot about Breast Cancer in men for the first time this month. My Ross has been to have Mammogram and Ultrasound today. We now have to wait now to see what it says. Please all you men out there do a self examination, if you need help in how to do it, talk to your wives or girlfriends.

But Please Just Do It.

S.M.Mac Arthur ©

Ross test came back today saying that it a fatty lump, left over from the Vietnam War

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Grandfather

I was sitting here and thinking about the people who have played a big part in my life, one of these people was my Grandfather, I would like to tell you all a little about him.
He was one of family of six children; he was born and raised in Dongara, which is an hour south of where I live here in Geraldton, I don’t know much about his childhood, but he always said that it was a good one filled with love and fun.
When Grandad was about nineteen, he was working with a camel team and that how he found his way to Mt Magnet and that where he was when he met the love of this life, my Grandmother. They married three years after they met, as Grandad would not marry her till he could afford to buy her a wedding ring, they had two children, my Mum Patricia (called Pat by all) and a boy Brain.
Grandad was working on Hill 50 gold mine when war came, so he lied about his age and when to war, as to him it was the right thing to do at the time and because the army where calling for engineers and that what he was, for part of his war service he when to New Guinea, after the war he stay on for another year to help rebuild, as he put it “a broken country”.
Now getting back in to Australia and out of the Amy, was much hard for him then it was to get in, as all his paper work to get back in to Australia did match the paper work he left with, because he had not told my Grandmother about his little white lie and so every time my grandmother had to fill out any paper work she put his right birth date on them, and now the army need to find a way around it, so now I have two lot of paper work for his time in the army. When Grandad came home it was to a country town that had change in many ways, but he always said he was lucky as he did get to come home and so many didn’t.
Like many men after the war he never bother to get his medals, years later I ask him if I could see his medals, as I always believe he had them, he told me he didn’t need medals to say he served his country. So I ask if I got the papers would he sign them so I could get them, he ask why I wanted them and I told him I was proud of what he had done, so I got the paper and he sign them for me and now I wear his medals every ANZAC Day.
I can remember as a kid, Grandad have a smile and a good word for everyone, it didn’t matter to him if you where rich or poor, black or white, everyone one was the same, everyone got a far go. But if you step over the line, this very quietly spoken man let you know, without even raising his voice, you just knew in your heart you had gone too far.
My Grandad and Grandmother own the paper shop, there house was built on to the back of it and that where they lived for many years, My Grandmother had a head for numbers, so she was the business women of the family and my Grandfather was the people man, he like to know what was going on in town and if there was any way he could help out he did. My Mum and Dad took over the shop from them when they want to give up working and that is how we as a family move back to my Mum home town.
In lots of way my Grandad was born before his time, he saw thinking in a way that they were not seen at the time, to him the Aussie Spirit (called mateship in his day) was most important, If you could help out in any way, you should and he would tell us that as kids over and over,” You never know when your turn will come and you will be the one needing help”, he said it didn’t matter what kind of help we gave, as long as we help out and it come from our hearts.
If as kids we complained about not having this or that, he would tell us to go look above the fire place in their kitchen, there we would find the saying he live by
“I had not shoes and did complain till I meet a man who had not feet”.
He told us over and over there was always someone who need something more then use and that we where the lucky ones, because we had people who love and care for us.
I remember many things about him and what he did, but two have stay with me,
There was a family in town who child who was born, disable, the problem could be fix with surgery, but they just couldn’t afford to have it done. My Grandmother said he come to her and ask if they could afford to pay for it to be done, she say, she told him, she thought they could find away to help, so that what they did. They knew they would never get the money back, as the family would never be able to afford it as they had six children, yet they still when a head and help them. Many years later I ask why he did it, and he said for the child, because the child did not ask to be born that way and that every child had the right to have a good start in life.
The second thing was his great love of his family, but most of all his love for my Grandmother, he love her till the day she died, every where they when, they walk hand in hand like young lovers, when my Grandmother walk into the room, my Grandad would smile a smile that told the room she belong to him and how much he love her.
When they were in there eighties, they left Magnet and move to Geraldton as all the family where living there now. My Grandmother died six year later, my Grandfather six months after her, I believe to this day he just could live without her. They had been married sixty two years and the only time they spent apart was when he when to War.

S.M. Mac Arthur ©