>It’s in a far flung year after that milestone year of 2000, and troops have been battling it out on Mars. The war has been declared over, and the troops are now returning. A young mom and her boy await eagerly as they await their returning vet. The family just want their soldier back, and to be a complete family unit again. Dad is grateful to be home, more than willing to hid his recent past behind him.
The family can’t know the depths of the horrors of war that are still fresh, and it all seems like a big glorious adventure to little billy, who has never known his dad. Five years is a long time to be lonely for mom, but it’s plenty to have made dad a changed man. Is there hope of returning to normal? The vet, Michael returns and his job is to try and get acquainted with his family of strangers who take him back. Billy wants to play, but his illusions of what playing soldier touches a raw nerve in dad. Michael might have chosen to be less harsh in his reaction, but will young Billy understand the synical message that dad las on him?
Though it can be a hard thing to do, talking about those tortured memories is the thing to do for a vet, but it might be best to share those intense moments with others who have been there and can understand. Families need to know it as well so they can begin to unerstand the emotional trauma of the war their vet has just faced. It’s the beginning of healing, and the attempt to fit back into a sane world.
There’s a nice little dramatization of battle on Mars. It does wel to depict that there are always environmental hazzards to battle against, just as real, and just as deadly as any combatants. It’s the same here on Earth as well. The sanitized battle scene only serves to present a few dangers, but it’s hard for any vet to express the experience that close brushes with bring. Dad’s harshness seems to have driven a wedge between his son, and mom tries to make sense of it. Mary does her best to use her feminine nature to break through the emotional aspect, but again Michael is a little too abraisive when it comes to slipping back into social life. Another hard trick for a battle hardened vet. Honestly, give it time, and lots of it. As in any relationship some give and take is the key. Mary shouldn’t push or expect too much, but Michael needs to at least give it a try for her sake. Michael may have a point in those annoying social questions, and artificial posturing that go on at parties, butit’s the successful vet who can overlook the petty annoyance and slip back into life.
More Martian drama is depicted as the vet relives the memories of his stark living conditions. Dealing with the crazy and fickle way that death takes friends who have become closer than family. At least for Michael, the vet in our story, it’s the thing that makes him realize that our losses are in the past, and for right or wrong there’s nothing that can be done to change it. All we have is the peresent, so focus on the family and relationships we have right now, and build on them to move forward.
For all the vets, even those who have experience the drama of war in our recent past, I think there’s still some lessons to be learned in this quaint old drama of the ficticious war acted out on Mars. It is afterall, a reflection of our real life wars that took place in the middle of the 20th century. In it’s own way it tries to highlight the path a vet ought to be taking to recovery, and the actions of support that his family and friends ought to be taking.
Red Skelton. 1969. Pledge of Alegiance.
PS: the audio quality of Red’s presentation may not be the highest, but it’s the quality behind the meaning of the words that matter more.