The air was filled one morning with the scent of honeysuckle, a sweet almost sickening odor. But I was thinking about several military events as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard. My memory had been jarred into thinking about the military by some “Looking Back” entries I had read in my Minnesota hometown newspaper.

The air was filled one morning with the scent of honeysuckle, a sweet almost sickening odor. But I was thinking about several military events as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard. My memory had been jarred into thinking about the military by some “Looking Back” entries I had read in my Minnesota hometown newspaper.
One of the entries said: "Fifty years ago, the Williams family had been notified that Larry D. Williams had been killed in action in Vietnam."
 When Larry was 24 years old, he had re-enlisted in the army, and was sent back to Vietnam for a second tour of duty. He had once left the Army but soon learned he was not ready for civilian life. Back to Vietnam he went. He was part of a convoy which was ambushed. Larry had been back in Vietnam one week this second time when he was killed.
I had known Larry all my life. Because of our similar ages, we were many times brought together as youngsters. Later in life we continued hanging around together as friends.
Another interesting military event that was written about had occurred one hundred years ago. A man in my hometown came to America from Norway in 1910 when he was twenty years old.
Because he did not immediately take up American citizenship, he was drafted into the Norwegian army in 1917. He returned to the ‘old country,” served his time, and while back in Norway, was married. He brought his new bride back to America a year later, after World War I was over.
As I was thinking about these two events, I recalled that my mother’s dad had come to America to escape the draft. His father, my great-grandfather, was a career soldier, a lancer in the Swedish Army. My grandfather did not like the military, so he migrated to Canada and eventually to America. He immediately became a United States Citizen in 1900 and thus avoided the draft in Sweden for World War I.
He had too many children to be drafted in America.
 Perhaps I am interested in past military events more than many people because I served in the United States Army from October 1962 to September 1965. The Cuban Crisis happened when I was in basic training, and I expected to be in Cuba, fighting Cubans and Russians. But I didn't have to go.
I served with many men and women who had been in Vietnam. My barracks sergeant in basic training was a “jungle expert” who learned his skills in Vietnam. As soon as we left basic training, he was sent back to Vietnam to use his expertise.
I eventually spent my years stateside and in West Germany.
Take a walk, use those signal lights, be aware citizenship does not come without a price, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
 

     
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.