Thursday, June 17, 2010

Remembering someone who disappeared in the Vietnam War

On Mother's Day this year, I had the privilege of visiting the traveling Vietnam War wall while it was in Ennis, TX. It was heart-breaking to see all the names and know these 58,000 plus lives were cut so short by that war. I looked up three people - one I knew growing up, one the person who crashed with my friend in 1970, and one the MIA-POW I "adopted" in the 1990s and about whom I added information on a website I published during that decade about these three young men.

All three of these young men became MIA-POWs and a symbol is next to their names on the Wall indicating remains were never recovered.

After coming home on Mother's Day, I wrote an article about the visit and about my friend and his buddy. The newspaper in the buddy's hometown, Prophetstown, ILL., published the article and someone in the area who read it, cut it out and sent it to the sister-in-law of that buddy of my friend.

That sister-in-law, Judy, emailed me and gave me information about her late husband's brother and it was very good to know more about him. It was wonderful to hear from her and to know my words touched people and let them know there are people who still remember those who gave of themselves in the Vietnam War.

I am so grateful that my parents taught me to appreciate service people and to study and enjoy history. Growing up in Atlanta, GA, the Revolutionary War and Civil War (known there as "The War of Northern Aggression" or "The War for Southern Independence") were a major topic during my youth. It was wonderful to be taken to the many battlefields and those trips gave me a lot of knowledge and appreciation of those who died for us, over many, many decades.

Also, my maternal and paternal ancestors came to America shortly after Jamestown and were active in various wars. One, John Langston (my maiden name is Langston) was a member of the House of burgesses and participated in Bacon's Rebellion, which was the first rebellion against the British.

I must have military in my genes because this is always an issue in which I remain active - especially the MIA-POW issue. We do not have an accounting of everyone and a wonderful journalist wrote an article on the 10 reasons we may still have service people in captivity in Vietnam and surrounding countries. If you, the reader, is interested in learning more about this, you can Google "MIA-POW" and find some of the wonderful associations who stay involved with this issue.

Our service people have in the past and continue to give their all for us. It is such an honor to be an American, even with all the problems that now seem to be at the forefront of our psyche. Thank God for our military and God bless each of them and America. I pray God also will bless all those family members of those three young men whose names I stared at on the Wall.

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