Skip to main content

Never Forgotten


He joined the Army in the fall of 1967. 

It was a dangerous time to be male, aged 19-21, unmarried, and not enrolled in college.  Families dreaded the daily delivery of correspondence, knowing it was a matter of time before the summons would come with the news that their sons had to report for duty. There was little they could do to keep them safe from the draft.   

Very few of them hurried to get married just to gain a reprieve; others were not interested or could not afford college. Living in Texas, it was ridiculous to consider making a run for Canada.

He had no immediate plans for the future, but he was nineteen and very few boys that age know what they want to do with their lives. The Army promised him a career, he said, and if he waited to be drafted he would not be given a choice.  He didn’t want to go Air Force or Marines.

He came home at Christmas before leaving for Vietnam.  He promised us all he would be back in one year; he would be fine.

He died four months later.  It was early May. My mother returned my dress, a pink organza gown with an empire waist and puffy sleeves, and bought me a black dress instead.  I don’t even remember the boy who was to be my date for the senior prom. 

We waited almost three weeks for the return of his body, and his mom buried him in the family plot and not the national cemetery. 
  
Many more young men died over the next few years. Their names are inscribed on plaques all throughout the city and their names are read on Memorial Day. We thank them for their service.  We thank them for their sacrifice. Most of their parents are gone, so others bring the flowers and others tell their stories. 

But I was there forty-five years ago. 

He had just turned twenty. He was funny, smart, and cute.  Everyone liked him and he liked everyone.  The morning he died, he awakened to gunfire.  The soldiers on guard duty had fallen asleep and the enemy was storming their campsite. He grabbed his rifle and came out of his tent shooting, but he was fatally wounded, taking gunfire to the stomach and more to his face. He died in a fellow soldier’s arms while waiting to be evacuated by helicopter.


Thanking soldiers for their sacrifice will never seem enough. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.I sputter.I hyperventilate.I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties. I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several).

Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting. Me first: The facts:My mom f…

Twelve Female Hero Authors Who Influenced Me to be an Author

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to share twelve female authors who changed my life forever and who influenced me to try my hand at writing. Some are not widely popular so you might want to try them out.
1.Charlotte Bronté – English – Her plotting and characters - Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester – are immortal. 
2.Louisa May Alcott – American – I loved how she created a family of Little Women that reminded me of my sisters. 
3.Jane Austen – English – Another author who knew how to build immortal characters. Two words:  Mr. Darcy. Two more words:  hubba hubba.
4.Emily Dickinson – American - What a poet! Her innovation was pooh-poohed at first, but now we owe her for breaking all those punctuation barriers.
5.Beverly Cleary – American – She created a little girl in Ramona that reminded me of me when I was a little girl.  I wish I had met Ms. Cleary’s books sooner instead of when I was in my 30’s.
6.Judy Blume – American - Her female characters said all the outrageous things I thou…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…