When men prepare for the horrors and separations so innately prevalent in war, they hopelessly but desperately wish time could stand still. I preciously cherished the short time we had together as a family. Kay was totally sympathetic, understanding and unselfish as Sandy became the subject of my intense attention and joy. Though she could never understand, I urgently sought to capture her heart and as many memories as time allowed. I felt a pressing need to plant the seeds of fatherly love and tenderness that would forever grow. Though I intensified my efforts to proudly see her take her first step, she innocently clung to an inborn quality of stubbornness. She finally took her first step the day after I left for Vietnam. Only men who have gone to war can understand the desperation and heart-rendering impact that war and children have on family lives.
The horrible nature of war profoundly affects the inner soul of each family member. For Sandy, who could not comprehend the significance of Vietnam, life would go on as before. She would, at least for awhile, innocently and anxiously listen for my footsteps or voice in hopes of renewing the affection that we had joyfully forged. Slowly, as the days passed, she would meet new faces and find other interests, and the memory of me would gradually drift from her youthful mind.
PART II … Saying good-bye