70 Years ago, A Few Months After Victory over Japan

My grandmother’s diary entry: 11-18-1945: Walked through Central Park—a telegram from John Curry saying he had arrived in San Francisco from Tokyo and was leaving for New York on Friday. This picture, taken two years before I was born, jumped out at me perhaps because of the date. My mother Barbara, oldest brother Chris, about …

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Veteran’s Day: Honoring a Vietnam War Hero 47 Years Later

Sergeant First Class Patrick Thomas Jr Two years ago I reconnected with a group of men I served with in Vietnam. I mentioned a soldier I’ve thought about each day since August 18, 1968, when he performed an act of heroism during an ambush and was severely wounded. At that 2013 reunion I learned his …

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Remembering My Son, Jeff— Sept 25, 1969-July 9, 2015

Jeff died today. The emergency room doctor suspects a brain hemorrhage. Jeff was forty five years old. It’s strange writing those words. In a perfect world parents are supposed to precede their children in death. Jeff led a troubled life. He had his first seizure when he was three months old. From infancy onward he …

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Ewa (Eva) Barbacka, my Mother’s Lost Friend from WWII

In September 1939 my mother wrote, Eva Barbacka was a typical Slavic type—a very pale complexion, a round sweet face, large grayish blue eyes and a head of reddish brown waving hair. To tell the truth I had always been a little afraid of her. At that time I did not know that the Slavic …

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Memorial Day at a Little Country Cemetery

I stood in the rain this morning and listened to the minister outshout Herefords and Angus cows across the fence. Apparently some calves had wandered off, the moms lowing and the calves replying. It’s natural on Memorial Day to remember back, and as the dripping flag fluttered I recalled the first military cemetery I visited …

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Sergeant First Class Patrick Thomas Jr Born 1931 Died 1986

I believe most of us carry ghosts we hold close. I received the phone call about Sgt Thomas while shopping for my wife’s valentine gift. It was déjà vu—the same sense of disconnect I felt when I learned my brother had been killed. Sergeant Thomas has been in my thoughts each day for more than …

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6 February 2015: Revisiting the Past

I recently reconnected with Beverly Dawson, the lady I met at Glenview History Center in 2007. This Starlifter picture is from her book, Images of America, Glenview Naval Air Station. (Page 108). Note the bus with the red cross backed up to the back of the medevac aircraft; that’s what we were loaded on to, …

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22 August 2007: Revisiting the Past

Have you ever been troubled by an event in your past? Troubled enough to revisit it? I did. I needed to make sense of why antiwar protestors would attack a hospital bus carrying wounded troops. The discoveries I made have had far-reaching effects. Here is the story, published in Vietnam magazine about my 2007 visit. …

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