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Memorial Day

Have you thanked a Veteran today?

New York, USA - May 28, 2018: Vietnam Veteran on Vietnam Veteran

My friend Harold Daughety enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1963. After Basic Training, he was assigned to the Air Defense School. During his third year of service, the army reassigned him to Artillery training—with orders to join the battlefields of Vietnam.

The following day, however, those battlefield orders were canceled. Harold remained stateside during the Vietnam War.

He never was told why his orders were changed.

Many years later, in his 50s, Harold found himself standing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Now in his 70s, Harold described that moment. As we approach Memorial Day, his words resonate.

On a rainy night in December, I stood under cover and touched the engraved names of those lost in the war. My first thought was that I am not in that somber roll call.

The next thought was, Someone went in my stead.

There were hundreds of thousands of men who were sent to Vietnam. I have often wondered, did one go there and die in my place, unknown and alone in a jungle on the far side of the world?

Was it the young recruit full of bravado and playing John Wayne?

Was it the grizzled veteran, a few months shy of his 30-and-out?

Was it the fine arts major—a draftee—whose music could bring great joy and move one to tears?

Who mourns him still?

As I have pondered this over the years, an image of the unknown soldier appears in my mind, tangled in thorny brush, his body broken and his face obscured in blood. I am reminded of Jesus walking to Emmaus with his friends who did not recognize him. Sometimes the thoughts and the images merge, and it becomes the Christ that we killed in that horrible war, and the soldier, transfigured by the Cross, will meet me on the road.

—  Harold Daughety

War Dead Honored With Crosses Along Highway For Memorial Day


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