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The Memories, Flashbacks, Nightmares, and Cynical Rantings of a Vietnam Survivor
Meditations on War*
by Camillo "Mac" Bica, Ph.D.
26th Marines Vietnam 1969-1970
by Louis Phillips
Editor of Words
The author, who teaches Philosophy at the School of Visual Arts, was born in Brooklyn, and raised on a steady diet of John Wayne movies and in an atmosphere of fervent patriotism oftentimes exhibited by immigrant parents grateful for the privilege to be living in this country of "unlimited opportunity." In the summer of 1964, Mac enlisted in the Marine Corps Officer program and, following his graduation from college in 1968, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.
While initially a "motivated" and "gung ho" Marine officer, Mac soon became disenchanted with the insanity and slaughter of Vietnam, and began speaking out against the war. After his discharge, Mac continued to bring attention to the mistaken policies that was costing so many men and women their lives. While recovering from his experiences in Vietnam, Mac became increasingly aware of the inadequacies and ineptitude of the Veterans Administration in meeting the needs of those suffering from the effects of war. He was also deeply aware of the unpardonable indifference of government officials towards the survivors of the war our country would rather forget. With a number of other injured veterans, Mac fought for improved medical care for the veterans of all wars, and eventually founded the HOOTCH Program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center Brooklyn, a program which encouraged healing in those veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a means of dealing with his own experiences in war, Mac needed to find meaning in what had happened to him and his fellow warriors. He sought answers through his graduate studies in Philosophy and through his writings. Today, Mac is a specialist in Ethical Theory and its practical application, especially as it applies to war. In addition to his work at SVA, he continues as a veteran advocate and his work with veterans attempting to heal from the ravishes of war. The following excerpts are from stories, poems, and essays in which Mac attempts to come to terms with his personal involvment and his country's involvment in the tragedy that was Vietnam. (Reprinted from Words 38 Spring 1994 with the permission of the editor).
*Formerly titled "Through a Philosopher's Eye". This is a work in progress. Originally intended as an academic philosophic endeavor, it has evolved as an undertaking not only of the intellect and reason, but of the psyche and imagination as well. Consequently, it has become a journey of introspection and reflects my wishes, dreams, fantasies, and perceptions of things I did, didn't do, ought to have done, and ought not to have done, as a Marine Officer in Vietnam, as a veteran working to come to grips with the experience, and as a friend and advisor to many veterans making the perilous journey of healing. Primarily, it is intended as a tribute and as a voice for the many who sacrificed so much for their Country.
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