I graduated from high school in 1970.  My brother (Daniel) was drafted in 1967.  When I dated some of the men who had just received their draft cards, they told me they would “probably” die in the war…..I tried to comfort them and told them I was very proud of them.

I know some were killed, because they didn’t return.  A few of them came to my house and asked me what they should do — because they were weighing whether or not to go.  I could only tell them to do as their knowledge told them what they felt was the right thing to do.

I’ve never visited The Wall in Washington, D.C., but I am traveling to that area this September, and I won’t be afraid if I see some names I recognize.  Those men died for me and also for all the people in America.  They did not die in vain.

I’ve never forgotten them — I never will.

Dear Unfortunate Heroes,

Why are you here? You and your buddies relaxing in the great beyond? Politicians would recite sweet words of patriotism and devotion to duty. They would say that these men died to defend beautiful freedom and defeat the cancer of communism. Recitation of beautiful lies is the job of politicians. The truth is different. And it is ugly.

You were torn from your lives, sometimes filling the shoes of someone more prosperous whom could afford a college deferment. You may have hated the training, but you persevered and excelled. You arrived in a far away land that rocked your senses. You made friends. You went on patrols, guarded the airbases and firebases. And when the bullets started to fly, you fought. You were warriors for your brothers in faded fatigues. And when they were in danger, you laid down your lives so that they may live.

If there is a heaven, you are there. You brave heroes loved your friends enough to die for them. More than 58,000 of you showed how much a person can love a friend. There isn’t a wall to show the lives that you saved. Washington D.C. isn’t large enough. Surely one exists in the hearts of the men that you sacrificed for, as well as their families. People like my Father, Father-in-law, and myself. Thank you.


Michael French