Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Too Many Memories

The Travelling Wall was in Colorado Springs last week. I didn't go this time. The memories from the first time are still to fresh, too painful. There are far too many names on that wall that to me are flesh-and-blood people, friends I've known over the almost-60 years of my life.

It seems it shouldn't hurt so much - most of those people were lost over 35 years ago - yet the pain is as fresh as if it were yesterday. Mike and I were together at the USO in Denver, long time ago. We did a lot together. He married the second-most-beautiful girl there, I got the first. Mike & Judy's children are grown now - as old or older than my 30-something daughter. They probably have children of their own, just as I have a grandchild. The difference is that Mike's not there to be with them. It hurts.

How many people remember Denny? Probably only some of his high school friends, and his fellow cadets at West Point. Possibly a few of his platoon remember his name, but how many others? Denny and I squared off against one another in football, baseball, and track, yet we were also good friends. I still have is West Point bathrobe, won in a wager over the Army-Air Force football game in 1964. I washed out of the Air Force Academy, Denny graduated from West Point. Hardly more than a year later, he died in Vietnam.

"Chuck" and I were friends even before I broke his jaw in a sparring match in 1964. We'd developed a rapport during Cadet Summer, and carried it on into the academic year, even though we were in different squadrons. He graduated from the Academy and learned to fly C-130's. He died as a passenger, going back to Pleiku to rejoin his squadron after some kind of medical treatment.

Three people - three of more than a dozen people I knew and respected - that gave the ultimate price for freedom. I don't need the Wall to remind me. Each day, each month, every year, reminds me of how lucky I am, and to make me ask, "why them?". Only God can answer, and He has yet not chosen to do so.


Blogger Bigandmean said...

Excellent post. I wasn't in Viet Nam but I knew many who were. i know the feeling of looking at those names on the wall. The memorial couldn't have been designed any better.

9:10 AM  

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