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Did my son die in vain?
Friday (Veterans Day, Nov. 11) as I sat at Ram Stadium and listened to the high school band play “Taps” my mind raced back to Vietnam, the place I first saw the words “Did my son die in vain”?
I remember so well the morning our operation officer stepped inside my aircraft, a CH47 Chinook that was also my sleeping quarters, and announced that 007 (tail number of one of our Chinooks) had crashed and killed everyone on board. I tried to pass his words off as a dream but soon realized that it was reality.
My first words were, “Who was on board”? I shook as he told me the names. The pilot, a young lieutenant, had invited me and my family to his ranch in Utah when we both got home. The flight engineer who had just turned 20 was another personal friend of mine. Maybe I liked him for saving my life about a month earlier.
About a week after the crash, a letter written by this young man’s mother arrived. The first words she wrote were, “Did my son die in vain”? Next she asked for some details of the crash.
The commanding officer, who was a new arrival, asked me to answer the letter on his behalf. My first words to the mother were, “No, your son did not die in vain.” Next I told her about the day a high pressure oil line above the cockpit of my Chinook broke and began spraying hot oil throughout the area. In seconds, my co-pilot and I began losing our visions. Moments later, the oil spray stopped.
Her son had ripped a piece of soundproofing from the cabin wall and was using it to divert all the oil away from the cockpit. He received numerous burns from this action. I told her how as a young soldier, he’d accepted responsibilities of seasoned soldiers and received rapid promotions.
I wonder about that mother today. If she’s still alive, I wonder if she has peace of mind and realized that her son, like most of us, thought obeying our commander-in-chief was the right thing to do, and that her son’s sacrifice contributed to the freedom we all enjoy today.
Jim Jones, CW4 (Ret)
Alice Walton ‘gets a high mark’
I’m writing in response to Mary Fields’ letter (Nov. 13) about Alice Walton.
I, too ,would like to see more about what she does for this community, than to tear her down. We all make mistakes. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a United Way party at the Senior Center a couple of years back. She was very nice and friendly. I thanked her then for what I knew she did for this community.
I would like to know her better. But what I’ve seen, she gets a high mark in my book.
No excuse for Limbaugh, writer says
Actions of a few fans at NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the response to their action by Rush Limbaugh was a slap in the face to military veterans.
First Lady Michelle Obama was appearing as part of the charitable campaign to support military veteran and was booed by some of the fans at the race.
I may could overlook a few of the NASCAR fans because it is quite obvious that they not to be able to distinguish between First Lady Michelle Obama appearing in a political role and her being there to support military veterans, but there is no excuse for Rush Limbaugh other than his desire to keep his radio show rating high.