• Steve and Melissa Burnett

Nitro, The Vietnam Vet


Welcome to another Monday, time to shift gears, sometimes I start to think I am just getting to old to be a gear jammier transiting every week from one career to another. I long for the days when I had to energy to do this. For instance back in the 80's I was running 6 miles a day 6 days a week, working offshore and even then I was spending a considerable amount of time devoted to my cartoons. Today even walking 6 miles a week would be too much. Getting old is for....well the old I guess.

Today I want to introduce you to one of my all time favorite characters. His name is "Nitro". The name Nitro comes from a nickname some of my friends in Sundown used to call my dad when they saw him. It was because my dad was always joking with them about running nitro in their hot rods. I always like the nickname Nitro so for this character I decided to use the name for him.

Nitro is my tribute character for the Vietnam Veterans whom I worked during my blue collar journey. It is the war I grew up with. I watched on TV every night. I had older first cousins who served, so I always considered it my War. I never understood how a country could turn it backs on men and women who went over there to fight a war and die for our country. Only to return to the USA to be treated like hated criminals. In my mind it is a black eye on our country. A time when our country was at its lowest.

The men I worked with in the oilfields that had served in Vietnam were just everyday average hard workers. It was only after getting to know them on a more personal level did I discover what they had been through. Make no mistake about it, they did not like sharing and talking about their experiences. However the few that did share some of the stories made me wonder how they had such a positive outlook and I was amazed at the resilience they displayed in their work dedication and their life in general. I often wondered how I would have reacted. I have so many stories I could share here about these brave men that it would cover the better part of a book. Just writing this little bit has brought back a lot of memories and I wonder about these men and how they are doing now.

Nitro has a prosthetic arm which he has converted to a pneumatic wrench. This represents the struggles the Vietnam Vet has had to overcome and the positive resilience they have in overcoming the obstacles of returning from a war we could not win, to a country that did not care. To these men and women I salute and thank you for your service.

Nitro is just an old hippy whom was sent to Vietnam for his senior trip. He has returned to make the best of his life with an eternal optimism. He is my mechanic in my cartoons

If you notice in my cartoons I reference the place I was when I did the art. This one has 555 on it. I was working offshore and on High Island 555 in the Gulf of Mexico for Pennzoil. They year was 1990. I was 5 years from being downsized out of the oilfields and returning to school before going into teaching.

Thanks for dropping in.

Thank a veteran this week.

Steve

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