Monday, May 25, 2009

Classic Post: Those you know were affected

Last May, the traveling Vietnam Memorial was on exhibit in Wadsworth, Ohio. My family and I went to see this and the traveling museum that went along with it. There was an air of reverence in the town square those days as folks were looking for names of family members and others they know. I would think that the servicemen who lost their lives during the Vietnam war would never imagine people taking pictures of their names on a wall using their telephones. Following is a post I originally wrote on May 31, 2008. There was also an edit made to the original post.

I was 13 years old at the time. I remember my sister showing my mom the Medina County Gazette this particular day exclaiming that Pat Duffy had died.

During the Vietnam War, whenever someone from Medina County had died in combat, that would be the main headline of the day, complete with a large photo of this now deceased hero. I recall that one family in my town had been notified that their son had died in Vietnam, the story and photo had been run in the Gazette, only to have the story retraced the next day. It was, thankfully, a case of mistaken identity.

Sgt. James P. Duffy Jr was a friend of my cousin Billy. I knew him casually but since he was 7 years older than I, we had nothing in common. Pat was one of those young men who was drafted into the service, so he had no choice of joining the army or where he was to be deployed.

I got this computer printout when I went to the information center(you can click on it to enlarge) and one thing I noticed was that had Pat Duffy not been killed in action, he would now be a few weeks short of his 61st birthday. He went to 'nam when he was 20. At the time, he couldn't vote, couldn't drink hard liquor, but he was required to fight and die for his country.

Instead of being almost 61, Pat Duffy is forever 20.

This was one post of a series that ran for about a week from May 30-to about June 5, 2008.


Diane Vogel Ferri said...

A touching post - thanks for the reminder. I remember wearing the POW bracelets at that age, but not fathoming what was really going on.

Mike Golch said...

This is agreatposting.I lost a high school chum in Nam as well.

Karen said...

This is a day to reflect and be thankful. Happy Memorial Day!

Ben said...

I tihnk it's great that Viet Nam vets finally started getting the respect they always deserved. We visited the memorial wall in DC last summer and it is awesome.

Pat Jenkins said...

whenever somebody dies too soon it is a tragedy! whatever the reason! happy belated memorial day wixy!

Margaret said...

I have been to all of the war memorials in D.C., some multiple times. There is such a solemn silence when you walk by them. Especially the Viet Nam one.

Syd said...

How sad. Thanks for the remembrance.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I grew up the daughter of a career military man, so I've always had tremendous respect and admiration for servicemen and women. FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE!!!

When I was 17 and going away to college (To NYU, that bastion of liberal ideology), we stopped overnight in DC to see my aunt and uncle. My mom thought it would be nice for me to see the Vietnam Wall... I had never been. To this day, I remember how overwhelmingly moved I was. Keep in mind I was just 17 (and a smart-ass 17 at that!). I never knew anyone who died during Vietnam, and was never personally affected; however, standing in front of that wall, touching the names of those who died in service to our country, moved me deeply. That was a day I'll never forget.