At the age of 17 I thought I had found the person I wanted to grow old with. I was a junior in high school. Michael had graduated the year before from the town next to mine. My girl friend introduced us at a home coming football game. Our schools were playing each other. After the game there was a dance. I had no plans of staying, but my friend, Patty, and Michael talked me into it. Michael and I did more talking than dancing. We talked about every thing. We became friends and he called most every evening when I would get home from school. Then one day he called and told me he had been drafted and would be leaving soon for boot camp. We went on our first official date that week end. I received my very first kiss. (I'm crying as I type this, now). He asked me if I would be HIS girl and would I write to him. He gave me his class ring on a gold chain (which I wore for a very long time). I met his parents and was so proud when they invited me to visit any time I wished, even after Michael would be gone.
We wrote for those long 6 weeks of boot camp, and our friendship grew.
If anyone had seen us together they would have thought we were brother and sister. When he got home from boot camp. We would walk and talk holding hands. It was then he asked if I would marry him. I couldn't get the word yes out fast enough. But because I was still in high school my parents told me I had to wait until after I graduated. So we did. We both respected our parents wishes.
Michael left for Vietnam and the DMZ area in the spring of 1967. To this
day I am still not clear on the mission he was on, but I do know I lost
my Michael on a June day of that year.
He was the first (boy) man from that town to be sent home from Vietnam in a box with a flag over it. The whole town, it seemed, came to the services. His parents were so kind to me, and we stayed in touch for a long time.
I wear my Memorial Bracelet for a man that was to be the father of my children, the man I was to grow old with, the man who was my best friend, the man who's smile could light up a gloomy day, for a life that was taken because his country said they needed him and he knew that it was his job to do so.
I did marry a couple of years later. And now have two son's. I wanted so badly to name the first boy Michael, but it was not Michael's son, so I
gave him his middle name instead, Steven. The odd thing is that my
Steven has that same crocked smile that lights up a room.
The name on my braclet is John. The one on Steven's is "Michael". My other son also has a braclet with the name Roger.
God Bless all of the Fathers and Mothers who had to bury their Son's and Daughters during the most heartless war (I believe) in history.