I am going to share most of the letter, in several posts, as I think it is something that should be more than just my family's history. Many times we can recall famous men of battle, famous battles, and great leaders, and I believe that sometimes we need the rest of the story-thank you
My dearest children, June 8, 1967
One month from today I am due to have your new baby, just two months from today your dad was killed in combat and it is important that I write this letter to you. If anything should happen to me, now, it would be so difficult for you to know and remember your mother and dad since you are all so very young and our lives together were shared with very few.
In April my heart was torn out with the fact that you wouldn't have your dad anymore-you will see many father's in your life-but you'll never find one like yours-he loved you so much-his only sad thought in leaving for Vietnam was the fact that he might not see you as grown young men and women-his whole life was a selfless act of love and devotion to you and to me. He worked so hard-against so many hardships-never having any personal benefit-just for us. Each of you were conceived with our full knowledge and desire-your father was more a Biblical type father-he saw the blessings of God and the fruit of his labors in his fine and healthy offspring. He spent all of his non-working hours with us, with a few exceptions of golf and basketball-his time was spent reading to you-making up monster stories-rough housing on the floor. On Saturdays he took turns taking one of you to work with him to his office-and to lunch. On each of your birthdays-he took you to the toy store so you could choose one special gift yourself. You never annoyed him-your questions were always answered by him. As each of you was born-when we came home from the hospital, he carried you "over the threshold" -He would let you be with the family for a little while-then he'd take you off to one of the other rooms, look you completely over, and have a talk with you. The talk went something like this, "Now, I'm your dad and there's a few things we've got to get straight"- then from his heart he would tell you his dreams he had for you and how he would help you out-how much he loved you.
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My thoughts~ Mom painted a picture that is so hard to comprehend. My siblings and I had never seen this letter and most of us only saw one photo of Dad(in his uniform) until after Mom passed away. I sometimes think she could not share about him because of how hard it hurt even years later. Finding her letter all these years later is truly a gift to my siblings and I. I am taking the time to share her letter to us, as it has been 45 years and it now is no longer a note to 6 little ones. Mom and Dad's legacy is of 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 7(so far) great grandchildren.*
I am going to close with Mom's words once again, just a snippet of her description of the military funeral. I am not going to mention any names of the personnel that Mom mentions, but aside from that, here are her words:
There was a short blessing at the grave by an army chaplain-then the gun salute by the 58th Infantry-a bugler sounded taps-and the military pall bearers-all in dress blues began the folding of our most precious flag.
Then they presented the flag to the Captain who in turn with warm and stirring words gave it to me. Then I turned and left the cemetery-it was all over-we had been married a little over 6 1/2 years-so short a time-David had been in Vietnam only 41 days-he had totally given of himself the supreme sacrifice.
~Click on Historic Find to see a photo of my parents as well as my siblings and I in 1967.
*Mom remarried and so we have two more sisters to the mix, 3 more grandchildren, and nearly 5 more great grandchildren-as one is due any day.