Visiting Old Friends

Living on the West Coast I don’t get the chance to visit old friends located in Washington D.C.. I doubt I will ever get that chance as I view D.C. as a nasty place anyways.
Fortunately for me I got the chance to see old friends I haven’t seen in some 35 years now. Some had slipped from my memory but others are as clear as a bell to me.
 
I got that chance this Memorial Day Weekend and my wife, Anita, and I went to see them. We had a little trouble locating where they were and of course, finding them out of over 58,000 who were there, but found them none the less.
 
As I stood before them and looked at the rest of the over 58,000 being viewed and visited by many, in the cold and rain known to the Northwest, memories of our youth together came back to me and I envisioned them all smiling back at me still youthful as ever. It seemed only I had aged and gone gray.
 
I looked around me and saw several others who had aged visiting with their old friends, some with tears streaming down their cheeks. Some introduced grandchildren to their old friends and told stories of their youthful exploits and the last time they saw each other. Others just wept as they reached out to touch a special old friend.
 
I never thought I would have the chance to see my old friends again and also thought maybe a reunion with them might prove too emotional for me. But, I was wrong on both accounts. Through the generosity of Dignity Memorial Service and the hard work of a lot of people as well as sponsorship by KPAM 860 AM Talk Radio, a 3/4 replica of the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Wall was brought to Portland, Oregon for Memorial Day Weekend for us all to visit and pay our respects to old friends we lost while serving in Viet Nam.
 
While I served in Viet Nam my unit, C Troop 7/17th Air Cavalry, lost 13 men. Two I remember distinctly, although I knew all 13 and at one time or another had spoken to them all. Sgt Scott Stanton and Sfc Robert Pilk were the old friends I sought out this evening.
Whether you ever served or not I encourage all to make the effort to at least once visit either the actual Viet Nam Veterans Memorial or one of the replicas traveling the country.
 
The outcome of that conflict doesn’t matter. What does matter is that 2.5 million Americans served there fighting for the principles of freedom for both Americans and the South Vietnamese. Over 58,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives for friends and people they never knew. According to all versions of the Bible I have read, no man gives a greater gift than to lay down his life for friends or neighbors.
 
Be thankful America produces people such as these and vist them from time to time. They deserve our respect for their sacrifices.
 
Lew
 
PS: On a side note, after visiting with my old friends I had the pleasure of actually meeting Victoria Taft, a local Conservative Talk Radio personality on from 6PM to 9PM weeknights. She was broadcasting her show live from Lincoln Memorial Park where the Dignity Travelling Memorial Wall is set up this Memorial Day Weekend. She is a lovely lady with a love for America unmatched by many.
 
Visiting old friends was great, but making a new one is just as wonderful.
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