"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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day: Thomas Chase

My Memorial Day was spent as usual, in a reflective mode. Thoughts once again divert back to the late 60's when boys grew up to be men very quickly. Unfortunately for so many, this transition from boys to men was too short.

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and for honoring all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars and conflicts. 

The young men and women who served and whose lives were lost as a result of the Vietnam War shall never be forgotten. That is not because of any stone or granite memorials built in DC or many other cities, states, etc., but because they will forever be remembered in the hearts and minds of their loved ones and comrades.

Politicians and other figures make speeches, sporting events, hold flyovers, and all the news channels have programs dealing with the parades and other events of the day. That is simply (in their opinion), something that is mandated, something to be done to honor those on Memorial Day once a year.

I guess Memorial Day, to me, is no different than any other day of the year, because to me every day IS "Memorial Day".  Memories arise every day.  Thoughts of those who did not return home with me linger every day of the year. Thus, every day is one of remembrance and not forgetting the men and women with whom I served with in 1969-1970 in the "Land of the Little People".

May they all  Rest In Peace  forever and ever.
Thomas Chase

Specialist Fifth Class E-5
October 1969 – October 1970 (1 year 1 month)
I Corp - Republic of South Vietnam
Air Crewman (Crew Chief-Gunner) aboard UH-1H (Huey)
Base Camp - Camp Eagle (I Corp - RSVN)
163rd Aviation Company - 101st Airborne Division

“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

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Thursday, May 30, 2013


The Eagle and Our Flag

Memorial Day Stories: 

All mountains are similar, but few bear a vein of gold and the same is true of man. Men look much the same, but not all possess the blood of a warrior and even fewer the strength of character to wager it. 

In order to protect our way of life and allow us to pursue our dreams, American warriors tiptoe along the precipice of Hell and lean over the slippery edge to spit into the Devil’s eye day after day.

They face hardship and adversity that mock the margins of possibility. They knock on Death’s door again and again as they pray he is not home. Any questions about their courage, character, and loyalty have been fully answered. They engage in the unthinkable, see the indescribable, and endure the unendurable and all of it is done for us. They offer no complaints, disclose no regrets, and refuse any retreat.

On occasion, colorful ribbons and shiny medals are “awarded” to these warriors to recognize physical wounds, or some handbook’s definition of bravery. Although appreciated, these adornments and commendations mean very little to a true warrior. They are the Mardi Gras beads of war and hold little value.  
Apart from the love of his family and his God, what he wants more than anything cannot be held in one’s hand, or worn on a uniform, and it will not be inscribed on his gravestone. More important than his own life is the love, loyalty and respect of his fellow warriors and that is never bestowed or awarded, it must be earned and the price is sometimes high. After he earns this perfect trinity, he is assured he will die a rich man whether his final resting place is a golden coffin in God’s acre or wrapped in rags and laid to rest in a potter’s field.

Despite all the wealth our great country possesses, victory in war cannot be purchased. It requires the ultimate investment. War’s only legal tender is a warrior’s blood. Warriors satisfy the cost of war by greasing Death’s palm and the road to peace is paved using cobblestones glazed with their blood. History is altered each time blood is spilled in battle. Epic battles consist of a series of distinct and decisive encounters. It becomes personal and each casualty of war is a story unto itself. 

For the survivors, each of these encounters is laundered through his soul, mitigated by his conscience, reconciled in his heart, and burned into his memory to be summoned time after time in his dreams. For the fallen, this task is left to his family and it is an enormous price to pay and an onerous burden to bear. 

Loyd Cates
God bless these families and those who gave all. They are truly America’s finest and let no one tell you differently. It only takes a brief personal moment for all of us to make each day Memorial Day. It seems the very least we can do.

With Love, Loyalty, and Respect,
SSG Cates
199th Light Infantry Brigade

Also by Loyd Cates:

“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

Add your opinion, thought, or comment, about this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.

Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Above and Beyond" Dog Tags Exhibit

"Above and Beyond" - National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum


When visitors first enter the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, they will hear a sound like wind chimes coming from above them and their attention will be drawn upward twenty-four feet to the ceiling of the two-story high atrium.

Since November 11, 2010, the dog tags of the more than 58,000 service men and women who died in the Vietnam War hang from the ceiling of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago on Veterans Day. The 10-by-40-foot sculpture, entitled Above & Beyond, was designed by Ned Broderick and Richard Steinbock.

The tens of thousands of metal dog tags are suspended 24 feet in the air, 1 inch apart, from fine lines that allow them to move and chime with shifting air currents. Museum employees using a kiosk and laser pointer help visitors locate the exact dog tag with the imprinted name of their lost friend or relative.

“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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Video: The Path of the Warrior

Memorial Day means different things to different people. For many, it is the start of the summer season, an annual trip to the beach, a 3-day weekend, or a great excuse for a barbeque. In my family, it meant more.

I grew up in a military family. My father and grandfathers served. Every couple of years we would move to a new base and start the process of finding new friends and sometimes finding old ones from earlier postings.

I was 8 years old when my father went to serve in Vietnam. I was too young to understand the politics at the time, but I remember being angry at people I saw on television saying that soldiers in Vietnam were bad people. MY Dad wasn't. I remember being afraid when I saw the green military sedan driving past and we would stop playing and watch to see if it was going to someones house the green sedan stopping meant somebody's father was dead or hurt. I remember not knowing what to say to a friend that had lost his father and feeling guilty because I was so happy it wasn't my Dad.

I have long wanted to do something to honor, not only my father and all those that have served their country in the military, but also the families that stay behind and wait. This video, The Path of the Warrior, is a small token of my respect and gratitude. I hope you will forward this letter, or at least the video link, to all those you know who either serve in the armed forces or wait behind.

What will I do this Memorial Day? I have not been to a parade since my children were little. In truth, I will probably be working on one of the Humanity Healing's projects and it is a good excuse for a barbeque; but at some point during the day, I will send a prayer of protection to those currently serving and their families, I will say a Blessing to those who did not return and a pray of comfort to their families, and I know that the fears of my eight year-old self will well up from the part of my soul they are hidden and I will say a prayer of gratitude that my Dad was one of those who did return.

Much Metta,
Christopher Buck
Humanity Healing Foundation

©2009 Humanity Healing. Partial Rights Reserved.

Music 1: Daniel Kobialka, Celtic Medley
Music 2: Enya, Fallen Embers

Images: Life, www.life.com
Images: Google/Photobucket
We honor the unknown artists

“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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Who We Are: $20 Bill Lesson

The subject of the story ...

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill.

To the packed room of people, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up all around the room.  He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." 

He proceeded to tightly crumple up the $20 dollar bill. When he opened his hand, he then asked, "Now, who still wants it?" Hands again went up in the air.

"Well," he replied, "What if I were to do this?" With that, he dropped it on the floor, stomped on it several times, and then began to grind it into the floor with his shoe.

 Now, both crumpled and dirty, he held it up for all to see. "Now, who still wants it?" Again, the hands went into the air.

"My friends, I think we have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it, because it did not decrease in value. It's still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make, or the circumstances that come our way. We may feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, just like this twenty-dollar bill, we will never lose our value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still priceless to those who love us. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do, or who we know, but by who we are.

“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