To our oldest generation:Thank you for believing that freedom was worth fighting for.
Friday, November 10, 2023
Friday, November 11, 2022
Monday, June 6, 2022
|Robert Capa, photographer, Normandy Beach , June 6, 1944|
While we travelled the 12 miles to the shore line, the dawn came up... Everyone soon was experiencing the pangs of seasickness, wanting to get off that pitching and rolling boat no matter what might come next. You couldn't stick your head over the side, so everyone was vomiting in the boat. I positioned myself right at the front as I believed it was essential that the members of the command be first on the beach...
In our craft we could feel the bottom scrub some sand and jar to a grounded halt. Obviously the boat had struck a sand bar. I plunged forward, jumped into the dark water, feet first, and was surprised to find I was in eight-foot deep water. My lifebelt brought me back to the surface, already swimming. Soon my feet touched bottom and I was able to begin splashing and running out of the water. Winded, I paused to kneel in the shelter of a steel hedgehog, then lunged ahead and dove into a depression filled with water. Suddenly, my ankle felt as if hit by a baseball bat. I was afraid to stand up for fear of being shot and I was afraid to stay where I was for fear I'd be drowned. Eventually I decided I had to move, and I'd try running and if I could run OK then my leg must not be broken. I hobbled the remaining 50 yards to the shoreline and lay down against the stony rubble. .. There was no one in front of me, beside me, nor behind me that I could see or hear."
|Being interviewed, Normandy, June 6, 1994|
Pops, we miss you.
Monday, May 30, 2022
I emailed David telling him I didn't know his father but that I had served as Military Escort at his father's funeral. As a result of remembering his father's name, Susan's research, and Bruce's help, I've now been able to communicate with Barry Lynn Brown's sons, David and Kent; his widow, Patty; and his grandson, Connor, who never knew his grandfather but wants to go into the Air Force. They have been incredibly generous in their appreciation of what I did for them, yet they were the ones who made the ultimate American wartime sacrifice.
What did I do for them? When my name came up to the top of the volunteer Military Escort Duty list I got a phone call telling me that within 12 hours a flight would be arriving from Vietnam and I was to meet it to begin Escort Duty. Not until I showed up did I find out where I was going and who I was escorting. I did my best to preserve the dignity, honor and respect Barry Lynn Brown deserved. I presented the folded American flag from his coffin to his widow, "from a grateful nation".
I can think of no greater honor I could have had than the privilege of escorting the body of an American serviceman, killed in action, home to his family.
Captain Barry Lynn Brown, Killed in Action, Vietnam, May 5, 1968
On Memorial Day, when most people think of small American flags placed on gravestones, think back to May 1968 and visualize a very young widow and her two sons, ages 1½ and 2½ years old, being handed a carefully folded flag by a very solemn young man.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Washington, DC, April 2009