Friday, September 30, 2011

In Honor Of....

We are involved in two wars and one military "intervention," the details of wounded and fatalities in each are rarely acknowledged, mentioned or reported.

Every day, men and women leave their wives, husbands, partners, children, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers behind for parts of the middle east they barely knew existed but have become all to familiar, being deployed two, three, four and five times in the last 10 years.

The men and women who have fought these unending wars do not have a monument built in their honor. They should. They deserve it.

To date, we've lost 4,477 service men and women in Iraq and 1,791 in Afghanistan and their numbers continue to grow daily. Their stories are much like those of the young men and women who fought and died in the Vietnam war, whose deaths are chronicled on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

My thanks to my friend John for this very sobering reminder.

Engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is the following quote: "Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a continuing quest to preserve both democracy and decency, and to protect a national treasure that we call the American dream."


Something to think about: Most of the surviving parents of the dead are now deceased themselves.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass., listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last scheduled day in Vietnam.

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.... wonder why so many from one school?

8 Women are on the Wall -- nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all
boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And theyall went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 ~ 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For many Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created.

We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wife's, sons and daughters.

There are no noble wars, just noble warriors...

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