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Pat Lisi/Southern Utah Vets Aid

I don’t know why exactly, but the Iranian Hostage crisis back in 1979 really pissed me off and it didn’t do much for my PTSD, either.  If you are old enough to remember, some Iranian college students seized the US Embassy in Tehran and took about 60 Americans as hostages.  This happened on November 4th of 79 and the hostages weren’t released until the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration when the Iranians were then assured that President Jimmy Carter couldn’t possibly be in the White House for another term.

It seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?  A few Americans held as political prisoners for a couple months, ya some of them were roughed up a little bit, but all in all they made it out of there safely and in one piece.  Things like this, political radicalism that is, was a big part of the 70’s; in some respects the Iranian situation was almost expected since we were deporting Iranians out of this country at the same time.  There was also an attempt to rescue the precious hostages that was completely fucked up, and some of our people were killed and a lot of equipment ruined.

What bothered me the most was this:  The end of the Vietnam War by 1979 wasn’t yet a decade past, and many of us were still hurting from the aftermath.  The idea of us being ‘baby killers’ and the like was still fresh on everybody’s minds and Nam vets were not all that well respected, yet.   The only ‘ink’ we seemed to get in the press was negative attention, and it was about time for us to have our day.  But, along came this Iranian hostage garbage and we as Vietnam veterans were once again shoved to the bottom of the shit pool to wallow in the muck and the mire.

Goddamm, it pissed me off!

I was so angry at one point that I threatened someone with an empty milk can, you know, one of those tall, metal containers with the funny lid that they used to use on the farm to collect milk in.  Mostly, folks like us had them for decoration — ours was painted orange and sitting on the back porch of the house.  I’m too embarrassed to say who it was I threatened with the darned thing, but suffice to say I scared the holy shit out of them when I picked it up with one hand and whirled it around in the air in a threatening manner hollering, “I ought to bash your fucking head in with this can!”

Instead, and much to all of our relief, I hurled the darned thing into the air and it banged off the side of the garage and fell harmlessly to the ground.  I had escaped going to jail once again, for the local police in my town would have frowned heavily on me using a milk can for a weapon in a domestic violence event.  Actually, using any weapon for that purpose would have landed me in jail for a long time, and justifiably so.

I cooled down after a couple of days but was still not happy with the fickle people of America getting into a story about 60 hostages in Iran when there were hundreds of thousands of us Nam vets who couldn’t get shit done about anything.  At that time the Agent Orange issue was just blossoming and no one was listening.  But, that’s another story about anger and PTSD!

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