Many times throughout our time in the Marine Corps my wife, Kay, and I spent countless days, nights and months talking about my frequent absences. When I wasn’t involved in training, I was touring much of the East Coast with an infantry squad for the purpose of recruiting Marines for military duty. She was a gallant lady who accepted the sacrifices without complaining. Because of her and daughter Sandy, I was eventually awarded a permanent officer commission and retired a major to pick up a new career.
Some Centerville folks still recall my family residing in Centerville for a year in 1975-1976, while I was deployed in Okinawa, Japan. While on my 30 day leave, I found myself running those same streets to stay in shape for new challenges.
Kay and I spoke little about the Vietnam War or the inherent dangers that it involved. We had, long before, prepared ourselves for the momentous emotional trauma of parting for the war. At night, when Sandy was asleep, we discussed the hopes and aspirations in which we shared for each other and Sandy. Each day always seemed remarkably too short, but every minute was preciously lived with compassion, warmth and tenderness. Neither Kay nor I possessed a feeling of regret or desolation for the destiny that was so near. Instead, we constantly maintained a subdued sense of pride, honor and duty at a time when these traditional patriotic values were under attack.
Most men, who have marched away to war, would probably agree that mothers and wives suffer the most. Though they do not experience the miserable conditions or the endless dangers of the battlefield, they live a life of loneliness, despair and fear. Through countless letters and many moments of prayer, they steadfastly maintain the love and devotion that are permanently made binding by birth or marriage.