Saturday, April 28, 2007

To Remember A Close Friend

 My father served as a navigator in the Korean Conflict.  In 1968, when I was 15 years old, he was recalled to active duty during the Vietnam war.  Our family of 7 was moved from the east coast to Forbes AFB in Topeka, Kansas. Our neighbors in our duplex house were Anne and Tom who also had 5 children.  Our families grew very close, and remained in contact even after my father's tour was over.

  I was by then a senior in high school and had become an ardent anti-war activist when Tom's plane was shot down near the end of the war. I was saddened by the senselessness of his death so near to the end.  I was aware that Ann was challenging the identification of his body, but as I entered college and eventually married,  my contacts with the family diminished. 

 I am now an English teacher and one of my students was doing a research paper on the role of the Air Force in Vietnam.  I began assisting him, and stumbled upon the information about Tom during our search.  I was unaware of the information which had been released through the Freedom of Information Act.

 Now, as we deal with a war which reminds me, sadly, of Vietnam, I am proud to wear Tom's memorial bracelet in the hope that his memory will remind me to encourage others that things like this should never happen again.

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