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What Memorial Day Means to Me

Memorial Day to me is a day to thank and remember everyone in the military that have sacrificed themselves mentally and physically for our Country.  

My father volunteered at 19 to go to Vietnam as a marine ground soldier in 1966.  Did you know that roughly 2/3 of Vietnam War soldiers were volunteers?  Less than 30% of the US military were volunteers in World War II.  The Vietnam Soldier volunteered because they wanted to be heroes like their fathers.  Did you know that there is not an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse specifically among Vietnam Veterans.  There is an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse among the Vietnam Veteran's generation.  

I never understood what my father went through until I read the book Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the U.S. Marines, 1967 by Otto J. Lehrak.  He was 20 years old, a "grunt" in the marines, and fighting at the height of the war.  A quote from the book where my father spent most of his time in Vietnam “In the Que Son Valley in 1967, we killed more Americans than at any time or place during the war.”  To come out alive was a miracle and to not have any scars, visible or hidden, was never an option.

After reading Otto J. Lehrak's book, everything made sense to me.  What the innocent soldier sacrifices for their Country.  

The marine in Richmond, Va off to war 1966

1967 South Vietnam

My Father's Hotel Company-5th Marines-1st Platoon- 07/1967

A Quote from the book
Road of 10,000 Pains: The Destruction of the 2nd NVA Division by the U.S. Marines, 1967 by Otto J. Lehrak

A quote from my father's Sergeant Harold Wadley: “Some will remain eighteen, nineteen, or twenty in my memory. They never grow old. Out of one blood-soaked, shattered tree line and paddy, where unselfish, devoted Marines once answered to the roll call of Aukland, Baptist, Braswell, Horvath, Herman, Irving, Rosales, Stutes, Wilson, and Wolf."

Thank you to all of the men and women that have sacrificed themselves,both mentally and physically, I will never forget.

1 comment

May 26, 2015

very nice Ryland. It is very hard for us to realize what all those soldiers went through over there. At 19 to see the things they did is something I can’t even imagine!

Chris Chase

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