This is Memorial Day in the USA.
Every year on this weekend, I find myself constantly thinking back and remembering friends, events, and experiences that I dealt with in my time in Vietnam from December 1967 to December, 1968.
I was fortunate - very fortunate. I returned home without physical wounds and, by comparison to many, a somewhat manageable level of post war trauma. However, my mind is still filled with the terror that we saw and I still have bad dreams at times.
But I was lucky!
The three faces that you see above in the image, were not as fortunate at all. They were three of the estimated 58,150 "America" Combat deaths from that war.
Many of those deaths were Canadians who had volunteered into the US Army and subsequently were killed in Vietnam. This fact is one that I do not and will not forget. ....The center portrait above is one such Canadian. He was John Austin Anderson, a friend and platoon mate of mine, killed in an ambush on top of a mountain in Vietnam. John,a Canadian citizen, fought for America....You can understand why I now grow livid when I here certain politicos condemn persons of other countries who help America in the worst of times. John was killed on May 13, 1968.
The images to the left and right were high school classmates of mine. Danny Kaye Rich on the right and Melvin Lapp on the left.
Danny lived in my same neighborhood when were were in High School. Danny was killed in a Mortar Barrage on the very same day as John Anderson. Danny was killed May 13, 1968 several hundred miles to the north.
Melvin Lapp - (Mel, as we called him in school), was a great guy. I was not aware that he had gone to Vietnam until some years later. I learned that Mel had had some premonitions and was worried about things...shortly thereafter he was killed in a fierce attack on October 27, 1967.
So these heroes are only three who have died out of the tens of thousands. I knew many others who died or subsequently died from affects. How many others have relationships and memories like that?....How Many of us who served have a hole in our hearts and a pounding noise in our ears that rings and screams every day every hour every minute? I do.
I only ask those who see this, to please close your eyes and remember the soldiers and sailors and airmen who fought to protect you and your country. Just Like me, many of these fighters probably did not agree at all with the war they were fighting in, but they did it because it was their job - their duty to fight for each other and take care of each other.
Please remember those who served, regardless of where you are.
** Staples Singers - "Respect Yourself"
- " We do not move forward from a middle opinion, which is undemocratic but mediocratic.
We advance from a creative passion "- (Edgar Morin)
- "To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at
that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson.
::Words from Denny:
- My beliefs, and values, have always been strongly tied-to music, especially Jazz, and Blues.
- The following artists and lyrics seem to "sum-up" where my spirit resides:
EARTH WIND AND FIRE;
"HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRIT,
ALWAYS FEEL YOUR SOUL....
HONOR THE MAGIC IN YOUR HEART"; Earth Wind and Fire