“Lord my boy was special and he meant so much to me…”
Those words are probably in the heart of every parent who has lost a child to the ravages of war.

This song is special to me because it was co-written by my classmate and friend, John Rimel.    (Jimmy Fortune was the other co-writer,)   The song also reminds me of a  special Veterans Day I spent with someone’s mother from the midwest who had come to D. C.  to visit the wall.  She had come  to find the name of her only son who died in the Vietnam on his 19th birthday.  The woman had never been to the Wall before and I doubt if she ever went back.  I felt honored to have spoken with her for about a half hour that day.

My generation is etched all over that wall.  There are over 50,000 names on that Wall.  I can’t help but feel that our country wasted the lives of those young men.  It’s probably time for us to start paying more attention to the Vietnam veterans.   They are starting to die off– some due to old age, some to disease, and some because of war inflicted ailments that are killing off those men in greater numbers than should be happening.  I have two friends who have lost their husbands because of exposure to agent orange.  How long were we told that agent orange was harmless?

This Memorial Day I would like highlight the memory of Charlie Milton, another classmate, who died in Vietnam at age 19.  You know, that’s just too damn young to die.

Again the motor cycles will roar and Rolling Thunder will make its way into town to note that some of those POWs never came home.  No one knows what became of them.  Rolling Thunder also pays tribute to the dead.  My generation is loud.  Rolling Thunder is no exception.

I find it difficult to go to the Wall.  If I am in a memorial kind of mood, I always choose the World War II memorial.  It makes sense to me.  Vietnam doesn’t.  It’s also a beautiful memorial.  It’s grand.  It’s shining and it took far too long to be built.  Soon we won’t see any veterans of that war.   They are fading away.  My own father would be 100 this September if he was still alive.  He served in WWII.

If you have a friend or love one killed in combat, please feel free to pay tribute to them here.


10 Thoughts to “More than a name on a wall”

  1. We have had some great tributes to people here in the past.

    A huge thank you to George Harris who once again gave us his insight into Memorial Day. George started off as a 19 year old in the Korean War. He came up through the ranks and retired as a captain. he had a long and distinguished career in the Navy, working towards healing our service men and women.

    George is alive and kicking so that wasn’t my special tribute…just thanks for his service and for always taking care of moonhowlings.net on Memorial Day. He is our own special poet laureate.

    1. George Harris


      Thank you so much Moon. It has always been my pleasure and honor to write a piece for this very special day. It brings home many memories of times gone by and friends who have gone ahead.

  2. NorthofNokesville

    My family has served in every major US/colonial conflict since before the American Revolution, with numerous folks giving all in combat, and others willing to. Our tradition to is remember them by celebrating what they helped defend – peace, prosperity, family, faith, culture and community.

    This Memorial Day, I think all friends of civility, decency, and liberty should have the name Ricky John Best on their minds. Best was a father of four, an Army veteran, and a man unwilling to let two teenage girls be threatened by another man for being Muslim and wearing traditional garb. Best gave his life – as did another young man, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, a recent grad of Reed College – to defend two strangers from someone who at best could described as a murderous asshole possibly (not defending, just don’t know circumstances) as a domestic terrorist. A third man was wounded.

    It’s easy to focus on the ugly bits… violence toward young women, a religious group being harassed just in time for their holy month, youth lost tragically, or the fact this happens, period. Better to honor the fact that some still sacrifice in uniform, out of uniform, or without uniform. God bless their families. And thanks to all who serve, in the broadest sense of that word.

    1. What a nice tribute! North, haven’t seen you around much. You are missed.

      1. NorthofNokesville


        Sorry, Moon, lot of competing work/family commitments. Hoping summer brings time to rebalance. Enjoy the weekend.

      2. Well, please come back occasionally. You always have something of value to say, even if we don’t all agree with you.


  3. El Guapo

    I empathize with the mothers and fathers and other family members of the fallen and wounded. As a mother mourns her son or daughter who made the ultimate sacrifice, we should all do what we can to comfort them.

    But at the same time we have to decide when we’re going to have the conversation that, truth be told, too many of the dead and wounded (physically, mentally and emotionally) served not their country but the advance the political careers of certain politicians. I know that most of them believe they were serving their country, and they should receive no less honor because their motives were honorable. The fact is that they, and we, have been duped.

    As much as it hurts, I think this country needs to have this conversation with the intent to stop this.

    1. El Guapo, I couldn’t agree with you more!!!

      I have done a 180 degree turn in feelings from Vietnam War days to the present. (Yes, I had drunk the kool aid)

      We do have to have that conversation. Part of me wants to think that now the draft is no longer the way to grab our youth, the conversation is less critical. Not really. We still need to have it.

      Thank you for a thoughtful response.

      I want to promote John Rimel’s music. He is on Facebook and is putting up a song every couple of days. Some of them are very excellent. I like the one about West Virginia and its coal.

      1. El Guapo


        Wow. Thanks Moon. I was sort of expecting to get walloped on that, but I thought it was important to bring it up

      2. Sorry, El Guapo. I haven’t been attentive to the blog today. No walloping today.
        I just think bathrooms are a dog whistle.

        I am more concerned about locker rooms and not because of gay students. More bullying and torment goes on in locker rooms than you can shake a stick at. I think there need to be attendants in the locker rooms at all times.

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