25th Infantry Division Posts

Gold Star Families: Making a President Look More Presidential

Owens

There are these documents most every Gold Star family has stashed somewhere. The signatures on those documents change from era to era, but the White House seal, it stays the same. The ones I have are over 50 years old now. They belonged to my mother but she passed them on to me – the document keeper of the family.

There’s the Regret-to-Inform telegram confirming that Staff Sgt. David P. Spears was KIA on July 24, 1966.

There’s the Letter of Sympathy sent from the United States president. read more

After the Flag has been Folded: Excerpt II

Mama. Me. Daddy

Daddy’s last instruction to me was to stop crying because it upset Mama. I tried as best I could to do as Daddy had asked. But what he didn’t know then is that Vietnam would upset a lot of people. I learned at an early age to handle the burning things of life with mitts of silence. So for many years I didn’t talk about losing Daddy, about death, or Vietnam. I especially didn’t talk about such things with Mama. Yet, neither one of us could escape Vietnam’s far-reaching shadow. It was featured prominently in the nightly newscasts and in the daily papers. Political debates reached a feverish pitch once Fort Benning was selected as the site of the court-martial of Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley Jr. for his role in the My Lai massacre. read more

After the Flag Has Been Folded: Excerpt

after the flag (3) (WinCE)

In one of the letters he sent Mama from Nam, Daddy referred to their first date: “I remember when I took some good looking girl to the carnival in Kingsport. Do you remember?” The letter arrived shortly after Daddy died. In that same letter, he teased Mama with the following note: “It sounds like Frankie is learning to get around there the same as he does everywhere. Tell him to watch out for those city girls around there for that is where one of them caught me. Ha!”

Mama dropped out of the ninth grade after the first two weeks of school. Five months later, on February 13, 1954, the eve of Valentine’s Day, my parents married. Mama was five months pregnant with Frankie. read more