I was one of those "sh*tbirds" that everyone hated and so calling myself a Marine and having anything to do with others who actually earned and deserve that title is totally wrong. I have nothing worthwhile to say. I insult those men who never came home by my very presence.
I think about those men at Tarawa and Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima and realize I could never have done those things. My cowardice would have frozen me on the beach and I would have died right there either from the enemy or from an American tired of my inability to react.
It’s a hard, hard thing waking up each day knowing that today will be just as much a failure as yesterday and last week and last month and decades ago, What makes it even worse is knowing your family realizes you are a failure also. My oldest son has called me a “psycho” more than once. My younger son told me a few years ago when he was just 10 years old “You’ve never been anything and you never will be”. My wife continually ridicules me for “living in the past”. But respect and admiration have to be earned and neither is something I have a right to expect.