KANSAS CITY: “She had lost her left hand in the blast.”
Gary Trudeau gained national popularity for his critiques of the Vietnam War– he is the cartoonist behind the popular comic strip, “Doonesbury,” for fifty years. But at Public Forum VIT attended Trudeau shared at a public forum about his astonishment at the extraordinary loyalty and kindness of our US troops.
Mr. Trudeau’s Was Visits US Troops:
Several of the Doonesbury characters in the cartoon are soldiers, and Mr. Trudeau cut his teeth as a writer shaking his fist with the rest of anti-war America. He was a powerful voice in US politics:
U.S. President Gerald Ford said, “There are only three major vehicles to keep us informed as to what is going on in Washington: the electronic media, the print media, and Doonesbury, not necessarily in that order.”
But when the US Military invited him to come visit overseas he was shocked by what he learned:
The US Military invited him to meet some of the soldiers that are actively serving overseas. Mr. Trudeau was shocked that soldiers saw him as their advocate, the man behind the curtain telling things like they really are.
As his visit progressed, Mr. Trudeau was invited to visit a hospital to meet a wounded soldier and to his credit, Mr. Trudeau agreed.
At the Soldier’s Hospital
When he arrived at the military hospital he was ushered into a room where a female soldier reclined in her hospital bed. She was recovering from an explosion that had occurred in a Middle Eastern home–
She explained that she had survived the bomb, but she had lost her left hand. The soldier went on to explain that she is engaged. And when she came to after the explosion, she realized that with the loss of her hand, her ring had been blown away.
So, her fellow soldiers had volunteered to find the ring. Eventually, the soldiers clambered up onto the remaining roof of the home that the bomb had blasted, finding her left hand still wearing her engagement ring.
Perhaps it was this experience that led Mr. Trudeau to make Iraq soldiers the focus of empathy rather than antipathy: “For many loyal Doonesbury readers, the character who has undergone the most powerful transformation is B.D. In 1972, the popular quarterback of Walden’s football team went to Vietnam to get out of writing a term paper. By 2004, the former athlete had served in three U.S. wars and lost his leg — not to mention his symbolic helmet.” NPR reported on 40 years of Doonesbury cartoons.
This cartoonist’s conversion is a testament to the power of US soldiers’ enduring loyalty and love for one another as they fight for our country.