Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

A SOLDIER’S JOURNEY TO AN UNKNOWN DESTINATION – Memorial Day 2010

Forty-three Memorial Days ago—four wars ago now—I was a second lieutenant artillery observer with the 9th Infantry Division’s Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. The day I set out for that incredible combat zone five months earlier, I began a journey to an unknown destination, a place inside myself I had not yet discovered.

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9 Responses

  1. Chris Armstrong says:

    Ed, My husband was a combat Recon Marine in Vietnam, awarded a Bronze Star w/V for bravery while on a recon mission along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos… He is now a well respected Trauma/Critical Care Flight nurse who’s boss has said that if he was in an accident and saw Jim above him he would know 2 things 1) He was REALLY messed up and 2) He would have the best chance of “making it”! Jim has recently been promoted to Captain in the USN-r NC…using his talents for the benefit of HIS BELOVED MARINES…and I believe he does because of his Vietnam experiences. Thank you for your service.

  2. Karl Jackson says:

    Ed

    This is a very fine column in which I learned a good deal about you that I did not know. Let’s stay in touch.

    Karl

  3. Ken McGhee says:

    Ed: A particularly touching and stirring Memorial Day tribute. We will be having a special ceremony at the Vietnam Unit Memorial Monument next Monday.

    Ken McGhee
    http://www.vummf.org

  4. Bob Hoelle says:

    Ed, What a wonderful and meaningful article. As you know, I too served with the 9th Inf Div (MRF) as an infantryman. I can relate to your first tour, mine was 42 yrs ago next month. We were young men that answered our country’s call in the same fashion that the great generation did, and as hard as it was, we did it proudly and with little support. We were quickly trained and spoiling to prove ourselves in combat. The older I get, the more the loss of my fellow soldiers haunts me. Each year that passes reminds me of another year that I enjoyed which they couldn’t, not to mention what might have stemed from their lives if they only could have lived. They will always be remembered in their youth. Their twisted and bloody bodies laying on the ground in the most unnatural positions will forever be etched in my mind. I have two kinds of guilt. One is because I was only wounded but survived, and the other is because I never managed any feelings of compassion towards the enemy KIAs.

    • EWRoss says:

      Thank you good friend for your service and your recollections this Memorial Day weekend. That was a long time ago, but in our minds we are able to travel back in time in an instant and relive those experiences. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way we can honor the fallen is to live the best lives we possibly can and educate our children about what it means to be an American. Have a great weekend.

  5. Lou DeOld says:

    43 years ago seems so long but it’s like yesterday and bthat I suspect will never change. Finally located my scrapbook from then and have been reflecting on most of the photo’s of those who were killed over there. So happy we looked posinbg for the camera at a company cookout. We had no worries back then. We knew in the back of our minds of the dangers, but that didn’t stop us from doing what had to be done. All those missions into the Plain of reeds or the Rung Sat just made our day. 43 years ago. Next year it will be 44. But it will be the same. Welcome Home Ed

  6. Ron N. says:

    Amen to that brother. Many will never understand or appreciate the sacrifices that our service members have made and continue to make so that our fellow countrymen can live in peace and enjoy freedom.

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