Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen

My family has been pretty lucky as far as returning family members who served in the United States military. My Dad, Father-In-Law, and my ex-husband all returned as did those in previous generations. My father did have some service related health issues but nothing too severe. As I watched TV today showing President Obama and others at the ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, I shed some tears. Taps, the Star Spangled Banner, other music, and the bagpipes do it to me every time. I was also thinking about all the families who have lost family members while in service to this country and continue to suffer today.

In the last couple weeks I happened to drive by two houses that brought to mind two such veterans. I drove by the house on Randolph Avenue in St. Paul where my late uncle’s mother and brother lived. I visited them many times since my grandmother lived 1/2 block away. Gerald Joseph Mueller died during the Korean war years. He was married to my Mom’s sister, Jeanine Hanley. His remains have never been found. I don’t remember him but always knew about him and I used to visit his grandparents in Buckman, Minnesota.

The next house was on Munster Avenue, also in St. Paul where Tom Kingston lived. I went to grade school with Tom and will always remember his red hair. Tom was killed in Viet Nam in January of 1968. I still remember receiving the letter from a friend back home and the feeling of shock. I was living in California at the time near a Naval Air Station were my husband served. He did not go to Viet Nam, but served on Adak in the Aleutian Islands. I imagine we will remember Tom fondly this October when we have our 8th grade reunion. I have visited the wall in Washington, DC and did cry as I touched Tom’s name.

I am grateful to these two men who lost their lives while fighting to keep us free. But I wish no one had to fight in any war.

© 2012 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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