Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
I was only 8 when you went missing, and I have to tell you Dad, I wish I had gotten the chance to get to know you better. I was just too young to really remember more than just a moment here or there – a wonderful glimpse back of a special memory; a snapshot really (a coke shared at your work when I was sick one day or you sitting on the carport smoking while working on our car and watching your cigarette ash growing to almost the entire length of the cigarette).
You were my protector, my hero and fearless. To me you were so very strong, so brave, and when you said you had to go to a place I didn’t understand – that foreign land called Vietnam I was absolutely sure that you would come home.
Because, to me if you said you were coming back, that made it fact; you always told the truth. But unfortunately, we do not always control our own destiny; I know if you could have came home to me and our family you would have, because you always kept your Word.
You’re my Dad, sweet, polite, kind and dedicated to Family, to Service and to Country. I know I will never stop loving you, honoring you and respecting you – and though I only knew you for almost 8 years you helped in shaping my path, I served in the military because of you, and many decisions along my path the last 46 years have been because of the time I shared with you so long ago. Sometimes I feel just like it was just yesterday, but most it feels like a lifetime ago.
I will always wish that we had more time together. You and I would have been best friends. I am sorry that you never got to see your children and grandchildren go on their first dates, to Prom, to get married, to grow old with Momma. To not meet my wonderful husband whom I have been best friends with for 32 years and our wonderful children and grandchildren. I’m mad that you never got any of those memories.
I’m sorry that I only remember glimpses, though I’m happy that I had Momma and I know you would have been proud of the person she became and would have been wowed that she waited for you.
I’m proud of the man you were, the warrior you were, the Daddy I remember.
I honor your memory by living my life by walking the path – Duty, Honor, Country.
So, 49 years later, I continue to pay tribute to you with visiting the Vietnam memorial and sharing it with your great granddaughter and there isn't anything wrong in that - it's just sad in its own way.
Please share a holiday memory of your parent (i.e. birthday, religious holiday, vacation).
The last Christmas he was with us he bought Momma a beautiful shadow box but he wanted to surprise her so he had wrapped a huge pair of women's underwear up for her and had let us in on the surprise.
How has the loss of your parent impacted your family?
In a ripple effect - everything has been touched, or broken.
Please share a funny story about your parent.
Once when we were in trouble for leaving the yard and Momma told Daddy that he was supposed to spank us. He closed the bathroom door and told us to yell every time he hit the toliet lid. He was such a softy.
Tell us about your experience as a military child (i.e. duty stations, friendships, etc.).
We were taught that change is going to happen throughout your life, and we would find out about those changes from a very young age. Unfortunately, with Dad going through the Statuses of Prisoner of War > Missing in Action initially delivered by way of Telegram by Yellow Cab to my Mom was the worst.
What are some memorable lessons your parent taught you?
To be loyal, to be patriotic and give Service to your Country and to Love and Respect your spouse.
What did you like to do with your parent?
Sit and watch him work on the car - I loved to see the ash on his cigarette grow really long.
What did you love most about your parent?
He always gave extra hugs and took me to work when I was sick. He disciplined by talking to us not by time out or spanking us :)
What did your parent bring to your family?
Love, Honor, Strength and Family
What did your parent enjoy most about serving in the military?
My Dad loved the Air Force.
What do you miss most about your parent?
I miss everything, but I truly miss him meeting my children, and in turn his great grandchildren.
What has been the greatest challenge since the loss of your parent?
Not having abandonment issues
What message would you like to share with families with a loved one still serving in the military?
Love them and Honor the Sacrifices they make as well
What message would you like to share with other Gold Star families?
Never give up and realize the Sacrifices you made to support your loved one.
What was your parent’s relationship like with you?
He always took that extra moment to make me feel special, loved and treasured.
DADDY 50 years have passed since you left for Vietnam. I was 11 the day you said you were going to Vietnam. Much has happened in all these years. Working to find answers on what happened to you. Growing up without you and wondering how life would have been. Much could be said here but just know with all the things that should have been and wasn't doesn't matter. You would have been proud of your children. Loved your grandchildren and great grandchildren. You are never forgotten in our hearts. I love and miss you terribly. Diane
Memorial day 2017. I was 11 when you left and I'm now 63 dad. Many dates come and go . Many cause heart aches. Memorial day when everyone else is grilling and beach going , drinking and have fun. I hide in my home. It's just to unbearable to watch all the Happy going of people who think this is the first holiday of summer. It seems harder and harder each year to venture out into the world. Missing in Action Captured in 1965. And still classified as such in 2017. I remember you, and never will I cease to remember you I don't have to feel this tribute with my memories that have faded. For they are in my heart Love Diane your daughter
Uncle tommy I wished I got to know you, I was not born yet when you left. Even though I didn't get to meet you, you are still my hero!!! I pray that we get to bring you home one day.. May you fly high with the Angels .
Almost 57 years and you have never lost my love. Daddy I've prayed since I was 11 for God to bring you home. When I was that little girl I prayed I'd be a good girl and do everything that mom and you would tell me to do. Now I pray please just let them find you. It's been so long . But now I know my son is with you his grandpa and walking tall. Of course Leahney your grand daughter is married to a wonderful man and makes her happy. You'd be proud. Your great grandson is grown married and had you first great great grand daughter. Your grand daughter will soon be 12 I think she resembles you a lot. And smart a a whip. I've been on a path not only to find you , but my career as a medic and retired civil service. And to try to educate about Gold Star families from all wars. And Gold Star Children that are adults. To tell your story the best I can so no one else no matter what , that no man should be left behind. I love you Daddy. Oh how I wish you could have shown them the love and happiness you would have given them. It is TAPS playing now. I love and miss you. Your oldest spit fire. Yes I remember your nickname for me. But no one else does. I guess that's a thing between you and I.