Earlier this year, my husband and I attended a concert. All veterans were requested to stand so the audience could honor their contribution to our Nation. As he and I stood, I glanced around the room. There were kids of eighteen, glowing with pride to be counted with an honorable group, ranging to men and women in their late seventies and eighties, still able to maintain military dignity and patriotism.
Today, I received an email referring me to a website, which made me think hard. There are so many who never got to stand and be recognized for their service. The Vietnam Memorial took the place of their standing, as did other memorials for various wars throughout the world. When I was in Korea, I visited the tributes to all nations who sent troops to help that nation during the Korean War.
Cemeteries across the world remind all of the ultimate sacrifice made in war. Think about the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, Canadian Army. This physician was so shattered by the death and destruction, and soldiers laid to rest far away from home during World War I, that he composed this everlasting memorial to a fallen friend, as well as others laid to rest in Flanders Fields. Read it here, along with the story.
Were any of your family and/or friends casualties of war? Is that how they should be remembered? No, it is not. Like us, those soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard had hopes, dreams, and prayed daily to return home safely.
Congressional Research Service reports one thousand, seven-hundred and eleven brave troops remain missing in action, declared dead. No remains were discovered to send home. Out of two million, five-hundred-ninety-four thousand total United States troops who served in South Vietnam, there were fifty-eight thousand, two-hundred-twenty in-theater deaths. Another one-hundred-fifty-three thousand, three-hundred and three troops were wounded. Some are your sons and daughters, husbands or wives, neighbors, fathers and mothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, classmates, comrades, or family members you may have heard about, but never knew.
Take a Web Walk to The Virtual Wall ® Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It is easy to look up those you remember, and find those whose memory may have slipped away. Perhaps you have a picture or want to submit a tribute based on some of your memories of that time. Stand in their honor and bid them another “thank you.”
I am grateful for all the Veterans I can thank next week. I know what it is like to be away from home because duty and honor are more important than family. For Veterans’ Day, remember the living; for today, honor and preserve the memories of our soldiers who departed life in Vietnam.
Dedicated to my family members, classmates, and friends, and those I never had an opportunity to meet, who met Destiny in Vietnam. God rest your souls, and grant you peace. Thank you for your love of country, and patriotism to The United States of America.
Anne Leland and Mari-Jana “M-J” Oboroceanu, American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics
Arlington National Cemetery, In Flanders Fields
The Virtual Wall