"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 11, 2014

A Chat With Lee Tucker

Lee Tucker
Note From CJ:  I want to share a conversation I had with Vietnam Vet, Lee Tucker, the other day, just after he sent me his thoughts about visiting The Wall for our Memorial Day salute:

"When I went to The Wall, a feeling of entering a hallowed place seemed to surround me.  

Although I told myself I would be strong and pay my respects, I was met by a wonderful woman who was a volunteer guide at the wall.  

She spoke to me and asked me what years I spent in Vietnam. I told her and she took me to that area. She then hugged me and welcomed me home. 

I broke down and released many years of pent up emotion. I spent the next few hours there with other brothers and sisters from our war. 

It was a very powerful and emotional day, but also a day I when was never prouder to be a Vietnam Veteran, surrounded by brothers and sisters that could never come home with me. Our cause was just!  May they rest in peace ..."

So, with Lee’s kind permission …

CJ:  What you wrote about your visit to The Wall was very moving, Lee. It is among those that I will always remember.  Please tell me how you got to the place where you are now.

Lee:  It has taken a lot of years to fully understand my feelings. At this point, I am in a place that one could only pray for. I feel blessed to have my health, my lady, and my understanding of life. I do each day the very best I can, and try to give a little back.

Oh yeah, and I have learned to speak from my heart. How cool is that?

CJ:  That is ultra-cool, Lee! As Robert, my partner, says, "Heart to heart is where we start". What do you believe has helped you the most to get to where you are?

Lee:  I had to let go of all the pent up feelings brought on by what everyone else thought of the war, as well as what I thought of it. We can’t control the things that are out of our control.

You have to learn to love yourself. You can’t love anyone, or anything, if you don't know how to love yourself.

The day that I became proud of who I am, not necessarily what I've done, was the biggest step in the right direction. The past is history and we can read about that any time we want to. But what we have now is what it is, and we get to choose what we want to do with it.

I am the only one who can make happiness for myself. No one can do it for me. I learned not to be afraid to cry -- I didn't cry for over half of my life. Now I can cry looking at a tree.

We have to laugh every day and cry whenever we feel like it, and let as much love into our life as we can get. We are guaranteed today. Tomorrow is just a hope. Like the song says, “Live like you are dying”.

CJ:  Lee, you've summed up the whole purpose of Memoirs From Nam in just a few paragraphs. Bravo. May I have your permission to post this on the blog? I have the distinct feeling that this will go a long way to help others on their own journey of self-discovery and finding peace.

Lee:  Well, I tend to ramble sometimes, but like I said, I speak from my heart. I have no problem with anyone seeing or hearing what I have to say. I sincerely want to help anyone I can to get to a place where they can experience inner peace. We all deserve that. Thanks for listening.

CJ:  You aren't rambling, Lee, not when you are sharing from your heart. I do think it might help others. When I try and decide what should go on the blog, I look at it from this angle -- if Doug had come home, would he think this would be helpful to The Brothers?"  That is what he was all about, even to becoming a combat medic -- he had a huge heart.

What you said about accepting yourself, loving yourself, sums it all up. You can't love anyone else until you can love yourself. True, true, true.

Lee:  And then along came my Brenda at a time in my life when I was trying to figure it all out. She happens to be a Nurse and comes from a huge family of Army Vets. Her son right now is in the Army, a graduate of West Point, an Iraq War vet, and he has since become a Jag Officer.

She has been absolutely amazing with me, helping me to believe that is it ok to be me. Now I believe it, and life is as it should be. But, the root of it all is convincing yourself that it is ok to love yourself and then to get on with it.

CJ:  You are a good friend, Lee Tucker, and I only just met you. Amazing. There is a higher purpose to everything.

Well, I've taken up enough of your time. I thank you most sincerely for sharing your thoughts with me. Please give my best to Brenda!

Lee:  Thank you! You are an amazing woman and a friend as well. Just remember, if you ever need to chat, I'm as close as your computer. Have a great day!

CJ:  Thank you, Lee.  You have a great day, too!

“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


  1. I am not a supporter of war...any war...but I do agree with the sentiments Lee expressed. I think it is important to learn to love yourself in order to be able to love anyone else, and I know this is difficult for survivors of most traumatic events.
    C.J., it is nice to see your name pop up again in the community and, thereby, on my email.

    1. Hi Christine! Thank you so much for reading Lee's blog post and for taking the time to comment. It's nice to see your name again, too!

  2. Lee expressed what I think so many of us feel. It takes years to love ourselves for what we are instead of what we have done or took part in. I used to be angry and would not cry. My wife too is a nurse who worked at the spinal injury unit at the VA hospital at Lancaster, Texas. She also has taught me how to appreciate my blessings and to get the selfishness out of my heart. I now can cry taking in the beauty of the sky and can feel pain from the loss of the death of a bird or a small animal... things that would embarrass me years ago. I would like to visit the wall but I probably won't, just the way it is; however, the names are of all my brothers and sisters who could not get this far with me. I miss them but we will all be together in the blink of an eye. "They were not here before, they will not be here again but they are here always." Thank you Lee and CJ.


    1. Lee Tucker Vietnam VeteranMay 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Hi Bob!!! I am Lee Tucker, but not the same one you met from the mid west.....I do however try to be a good guy the best I can.... Thank you for reading the blog.....and thank you for your service to our country.... Welcome Home Brother!!!!

  4. You are a very popular man Mr.Lee Tucker!I am so glad you have a wonderful woman in your life.I am glad you are at peace.I am glad you are at a time in your life that you can help other vets.God be with you!


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