You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Remembering those who have served
The Vietnam Memorial Wall ... behind these numbers are the faces of the fathers, sons, daughters, and friends who did not come home.
The following information is being circulated on the Internet. La Vernia resident and Vietnam veteran John Larrison shared this with the Wilson County News. We honor all our veterans this Nov. 11, and pause a moment to hold in our hearts those special to each of us.
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date, and within each date the names are alphabetized.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon of North Weymouth, Mass., listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the memorial with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
Of the total, 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger, and 8,283 were just 19 years old. The largest age group, 33,103, were 18 years old; 12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old; and five soldiers were 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was only 15 years old.
A total of 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam and 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.
There are 31 sets of brothers on the Wall.
Among the names are 54 soldiers who attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.
The Wall bears the names of eight women who were nurses.
A total of 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of the names are inscribed on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio, with a population of 475, lost six of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation during this war; there are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci (pop. 5,058) led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town had ever known and cheered. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail and stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. In the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High School enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only three returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale -- LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, and Tom Gonzales -- were all boyhood friends who lived in Midvale, Utah, on Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. They all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was Jan. 31, 1968 -- 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968; 2,415 casualties were incurred.
Most Americans who read this will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted by these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters.
There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
Please pass this on to those who served during this time, and those who do care.
George J. Marrett was an A-1 Skyraider pilot in 602nd Fighter Squadron (C) at Udorn and NKP Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, from April 1968-69.
This poem was read by retired Brig. Gen. Kenneth A. Fleenor, U.S. Air Force, at the opening ceremony of the Moving Wall exhibit March 19, 1999.
For every man that walked the rail, twenty stayed behind,
Some were lost and some were killed
And some we’ll never find.
And in their place a memory,
A great long granite wall,
Sitting down in Washington right close to the Mall.
Now, not a single one of them expected they would die,
There was a job that must be done, they knew they had to try.
No politics, no great ideals, just dedicated men,
The only thing they had to do was go and fight and win.
In courage and devotion, not a single one did lack,
Didn’t know the day they left, they never would come back.
They knew they had to do their part to keep our country free,
Went out there, gave all they had for folks like you and me.
And to the cowards in our land that said they wouldn’t go,
Today you’re living in the greatest land of all,
Thanks to the men remembered there,
On that great granite wall.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Adopt-a-pet at Deason’s Dec. 5 (November 25, 2015)
Bark For Life is Dec. 6 (November 25, 2015)
Beverage set (November 25, 2015)
Christmas Along the Corridor Dec. 5 (November 25, 2015)
El Rancho de Las Cabras, then and now (November 25, 2015)
Father Leopold Gala is Dec. 6 (November 25, 2015)
Get to know La Vernia at Wassail Walk (November 25, 2015)
Hear Christmas cantata (November 25, 2015)
Learn about bats at Jack’s Dec. 5 (November 25, 2015)
Take part in Dec. 5 Christmas Parade (November 25, 2015)
Three Oaks Christmas party Dec. 4 (November 25, 2015)
Tour holiday homes in Seguin (November 25, 2015)
Yulefest in Seguin Dec. 6 (November 25, 2015)
‘La Mafia’ to headline Floresville’s annual Holiday Extravaganza (November 25, 2015)
‘Little white church’ takes its place in local history (November 25, 2015)
‘Texas Family Tradition’ to perform (November 25, 2015)
And the winner is...Texas Balloon Spectacular Photo Contest Results (November 18, 2015)
Art League plans free public reception (November 18, 2015)
Chorus presents ‘Showstoppers’ Nov. 21 (November 18, 2015)
El Mesias church welcomes new pastor (November 18, 2015)
Perez visits with Catholic leaders (November 18, 2015)
See snow and lights in Cuero (November 18, 2015)
Shop Traildrivers Craft Show (November 18, 2015)
Study skins, skulls, scat at Nature Park (November 18, 2015)
Thanksgiving Feast in Sutherland Springs (November 18, 2015)
Turkey dinner in St. Hedwig (November 18, 2015)
UIW’s ‘Light the Way’ (November 18, 2015)
Wilson County Courthouse records of 1874 (November 18, 2015)
Wreath-decorating registration deadline (November 18, 2015)
‘Joy of Cooking’ (November 18, 2015)
A life pieced together in love (November 11, 2015)
Acoustic to Rock studio to open (November 11, 2015)
Advent Fest, Craft Show in Elmendorf (November 11, 2015)
Antique level (November 11, 2015)
Area residents graduate from WGU Texas (November 11, 2015)
Atascosa County Craft Show (November 11, 2015)
Comal show celebrates 17 years (November 11, 2015)
Enjoy Farm Day at Mission San Juan (November 11, 2015)
Find crafts, treasures in St. Hedwig (November 11, 2015)
Master Gardeners Rummage, Bake Sale (November 11, 2015)
Never say ‘never’ (November 11, 2015)
Register for Dec. 5 Wassail Hustle (November 11, 2015)
Register for free women’s retreat (November 11, 2015)
Talent galore planned for Nov. 14 show (November 11, 2015)
Tickets available for FISD Gatsby Gala (November 11, 2015)
Tickets on sale for museum banquet (November 11, 2015)
Tickets on sale for SA Stock Show & Rodeo concerts (November 11, 2015)
Tickets on sale now to see Grammy award winners (November 11, 2015)
Windland wins program cover design contest (November 11, 2015)
DAR honors ancestors (November 4, 2015)
East Central FFA Farmer’s Market (November 4, 2015)
Enjoy Chihuahua Trail Art Show (November 4, 2015)
Enjoy puppet show at Magik Theatre (November 4, 2015)
Get tickets now for St. Ann 50th jubilee (November 4, 2015)
Get your tickets for TLU Christmas Vespers (November 4, 2015)
Go batty in Marion Nov. 10 (November 4, 2015)
Go Nuts Contest winners (November 4, 2015)
Go nutty at Pecan Jubilee Nov. 14 (November 4, 2015)
Hear Fiddle Festival in Burton (November 4, 2015)
LVHS Theatre Arts presents ‘Almost, Maine’ (November 4, 2015)
Once a Year is here! (November 4, 2015)
See ‘King of the Wild Frontier’ (November 4, 2015)
Successful Homecoming in Panna Maria (November 4, 2015)
Tiny houses, big dreams (November 4, 2015)
VFW announces winners (November 4, 2015)
WCRSP promotes new program to superintendents (November 4, 2015)
Wildcats barbecue fund-raiser (November 4, 2015)
Wilson County’s Got Talent is Nov. 14 (November 4, 2015)
'Happy Face' mug (November 4, 2015)