The Big E

The Big E
Vern's Stories

Memorial Day

 Memorial Day is a day to mourn our fallen.

I do. I mourn. 

I mourn for the fallen heroes of World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, the ones that went to the Big Sand Box. And other conflicts after that. I mourn that their sacrifice has almost come to naught because of politics here in the former usofa.

But I also remember. I remember the ones who are here with us.

I remember my brother Kenneth. He was in the Navy Seals and went to vietnam twice, the last time in 1969. 53 years ago. And I am thankful that there were men like my brother who were willing to stand up to evil.

I remember my brother in law Joe. He was in the army as a cook. He went to vietnam and came back. Thank you lord. He is gone now, from cancer.

I remember my other brother in law Cookie. He lives in Michigan with my sister. He served as a Marine for several years. He didn't go to vietnam, thank God. But he stood ready to go if called. Men like him are not made anymore. That's a pity.

I think about my service in the navy from 1970 to 1976. My last 4 years were spent on the USS Enterprise. That ship participated in the evacuation of Saigon when that happened.

I think about my grandson Jarrod, who is stationed in Alaska right now. He is in the Army and is a paratrooper. His job is as a mechanic. And I think I hope this bullshit in russia and ukraine doesn't wind up involving him in it.

And here is an update to this chronicle, because I screwed up and left out my son in law Jeff.  He served 20 years in the Army Reserve. He trained whenever they told him to. A couple of years ago he went on a 9 month tour to Iraq, where he served in the hospital. He has retired from the reserve now.

I think about some of the people I served with on the ship. Ozzie, Bob, Al, Chief Larson, Fred.  I have lost contact with all of  them.

As I said, I mourn. But mostly I remember, and am thankful I have very few to mourn for.


  1. I've had friends over the years that served in Vietnam. One, in particular, was in the Cavalry in the Central Highlands. He had interesting stories to tell, with the most remarkable the night the Tet Offensive started. All left me thinking, but what really made me think was his brother-in-law. He never made it back. He was in tanks, and his was burned during an attack. Nobody survived, and the photographs his wife had were haunting.

    One photograph was his high school graduation picture. The large, friendly smile was that of a young man about to take on the world. The other was in Vietnam, and his thousand yard stare, with a sullen expression, told of days that were merciless. Maybe he had that feeling. Nobody knows, and that knowledge is gone forever.

    1. I never made it to land, my duty station was on the ship. I think I had it easy compared to those who were on land.