"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Honor of Memorial Day

This came to me in an email this morning from my brother-in-law, Dennis Kempf.  It's a poignant reminder and I would like to share it with all of you in honor of Memorial Day. 

The Vietnam War: The Vietnam Memorial Wall

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. 

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and, within each date, the names are alphabetized.  It's hard to believe it is thirty-six years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet.  The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Massachusetts, listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956.  His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
* There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
* 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
* The largest age group, 8,283, were just 19 years old
* 3,103 were 18 years old.
* Twelve soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
* Five soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
* One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was 15 years old.
* 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.
* 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnan.
* 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.  That means, thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
* 54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.  I wonder why there were so many from one school.
* Eight Women are on the Wall.  Nursing the wounded.
* 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War;  153 of them are on the Wall.
* Beallsville, Ohio, with a population of only 475 lost 6 of her sons.
* West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall. 
* The Marines of Morenci -- They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts, and in quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, and stalked deer in the Apache National Forest.  In the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High School all enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966.  Only three ever returned home.
* The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, and Tom Gonzales, were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah, on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few hundred yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam..
In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed.  LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
* The most casualties for a single day, 245 deaths, was on January 31, 1968.
* The most casualties, 2,415 deaths, for a single month was May 1968.  That's 2,415 dead in a single month.

We will never forget ...

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Bookmark and Share


  1. From Facebook:

    Interesting reading, Cathy, but I might add that there should have been even more names placed there: people who came home and died from PTSD as a result of Vietnam, suicides as a result of survivors guilt, cancers from Agent Orange.

    I'm sure the same thing happened to World War Vets, Korea Vets, and our most recent Vets, as well. War, killing doesn't end with the signing of a piece of paper. It is something that lasts forever and kills forever.

    Welcome Home, survivors. Rest in peace to our service personnel who didn't make it and thank you for your service.
    Craig Latham

  2. You're so right, Craig. The results of any war are always far-reaching and the losses touch so many, many lives. I share your sentiments every day, but especially today. Rest in Peace, Doug, and all of our service personnel who died, and yes, Welcome Home, survivors.
    Hugs to you, my friend.


Feel free to comment.