Thursday, March 24, 2011

For Donald Lyle Elliott

Pfc. Donald Lyle Elliott grew up in the same neighborhood, only a few houses apart. I used to wander the neighborhood and about 5, I walked up the street and he was playing in his front yard. We began playing together and eventually went thru the Cranston, RI school system until he left in 1965.

There was an empty lot across the street from his house and we would play for hours in the tall grass. We did boy stuff like catching frogs and turtles in a nearby pond. We played cowboys and hid and seek. One day, we drew blood and became “blood brothers”. As kids so often did, we promised to be friends forever.

I never knew where Donnie went, but in late 1969, news went through the neighborhood that Donnie was KIA in Vietnam. I was stunned and after my father told me, I went to my room and cried. I denied that news for years but never forgot him. This past January, I was told he moved to Massachusetts, I researched the wall and found his name there.

I have been grieving since that time. I posted a memorial page on my web site for Donnie, and I am certain it may take an awful long time for the pain of his death to subside.

I ordered my braclet to honor my friend Donnie. I remember drawing blood from my right wrist when we became “blood brothers” and it is on that wrist that I wear his bracelet. I wear another to remember a classmate Kevin Carroll Hanley. Both of my friends were U.S. Marines and both were KIA only days after their 19th birthdays.

I made a promise to both Donald and Kevin to wear these bracelets for the remainder of my life. I have stipulated in my will that upon my death, they remain on my arms as an eternal reminder of the love between three friends. Donnie and I promised to be friends forever, and I will fulfill that promise.

The bracelets are beautiful and it helps to remind me of the losses of our finest during that terrible war. To all those men and women who died in Vietnam, and for those who served and still carry the emotional scars, may our Almighty Creator watch over you. You have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Lawrence M  C.

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