“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.