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Showing posts from October, 2010

What's your name?

I walked into the assisted living home to find a dozen or so of the residents singing "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover." I was going to skirt the room and take the stairs at the far end to the second floor where my mother's room was. But I paused to look at the faces just in case she was part of the group.
She was.
She wasn't expecting me; I hadn't called to say I was coming, and she wouldn't have remembered if I had. This I'd discovered on other visits when I had called before making the hour-and-a-half drive.

She always had that spark of recognition when I knocked and then entered her room.

"Hi, Ruthie," she'd exclaim, and I always felt relieved, knowing I was still in her shadowy memory bank.
Today I went over and knelt on the floor beside her chair. She smiled and said hello. But she'd spoken politely as she might do to a stranger. Then she gave me a quizzical look. 

"You look like my daughter, " she said, searching my…

Thirty-nine men~

They were men in 1967, albeit young and untested, until the dense and steamy jungles of Vietnam became an exam they dared not fail.  Now they call themselves the "Boys of '67." They met as a group in 2008 for the first time in forty-one years as graduates of the class of 5-'67 at the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. From that reunion emerged the desire to honor their missing classmates in a permanent way.
The "boys" placed a new monument at the Marine Museum in Triangle, Virginia, in honor of their thirty-nine classmates who died in Vietnam. This monument was a gift from those who never forgot--never could forget and never will--their friends who didn't return home. Dedicated in a ceremony on October 16, it speaks to the power of the loyalty that is often generated in the worst of times.

Families of the deceased were invited. Many came--brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, and one ninety-five-year-old mother who's lived forty-three y…