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    « Baez team announces new attorneys | Main | Rick Rescorla - A True American Hero »
    Sunday
    Sep122010

    A Portrait of War

    There isn’t a day that goes by where the thundering echoes of war escape us. Today, we live in a world filled with radical extremists, defiantly justified to maim and kill in the name of their god. The following story is my hideous wake-up call. It came at a time when wars were fought over more mundane causes - patriotism, democracy, communism, bigotry and territorial rights. This was back when building a bigger, better, bomb was all the rage and nations proudly strutted their hardware in a show of strength and unity in order to intimidate their neighbors and enemies. Today, they just strap on a vest and blow themselves up.

    On a distant morning of 1967, one of my classmates was quietly asked to get up from his desk and follow the administrator out of the room. I remember that day and wondering why. Did he do something wrong? It didn’t take very long before the school principal came on the P.A. system to announce that his uncle, Van Dyke Manners, was killed in action in Vietnam. He was one of the first from Hunterdon County, New Jersey to die in the line of duty. I didn’t know him personally, but I remember it well because it was a solemn day. My friend had lost a loved one. Greg did not come back to class that week. To a 14-year-old, those echoes of war were a distant sound that lightly flickered in our young minds. We never thought of death then. We were invincible, but with each passing day, the reverberation grew louder and louder, and reality hit us fast and hard. The Vietnam War was in full boom.

    Back then, what was going on in our own back yards seemed more important than anything else, but the Vietnam war was lurking out there. Despite our youthful dreams and aspirations, the war never escaped us. We saw it on our black & white televisions. We heard it on our AM radios. It made headlines in the daily newspapers. Everywhere we went, the specter loomed large and it cut deeply into our subconscious minds.

    Early in 1968, a girl who lived up the street from me asked if I would be interested in creating a portrait of her boyfriend. Back in those days, a small town was just that. Windows were left open because air conditioning was a luxury. Doors were left unlocked, and neighbors knew all the gossip. I was known as the left-handed artistic kid. Ask Dave. He knows how to draw.

    She was a little older than me, and her boyfriend had enlisted in the Army. She offered to pay me and I accepted. I asked her to round up whatever photographs she could so I had something to work with. I asked her if I could meet him. To an artist, it’s good to know something about a subject that photographs can’t tell you. Because of that request, I got to know Mike Baldwin. At 21, he was a man. At 15, I was not. He was old and mature. I was still a kid. He shaved, I didn’t. With a war going on, I was in no hurry to buy my first razor.

    His girlfriend asked me to draw the portrait as big as I could. When I went to the store to buy materials, my old “Be Prepared” Boy Scout lessons taught me to have a back-up plan, so I purchased two poster boards, just in case I messed up. I couldn’t just go to the store back then when I was too young to drive.  Well, I didn’t mess up, so I had a blank sheet and decided to draw another one, identical to the first. Buy one, get one free. I don’t know what compelled me to do it, but I’m glad I did. Maybe I thought if the relationship didn’t work out years later, at least he would have one to share with his family. That must have been the reason. Maybe the death of Van Dyke put apprehension in my heart. You know, one for his mother, just in case.

    When I finished my work, I made a date to deliver the artwork. My neighbor had invited Mike and his mother to “attend” the presentation. Everyone was very pleased with the job I had done, especially his mother, who was honored to have her son’s portrait captured by a local artist.

    Soon afterward, he left for Vietnam. He went because he believed in a cause. He believed in America and freedom. In school, we were taught about the Domino Effect. Red China didn’t exist on any of our maps and globes. It was just a grayed out mass of nonexistent land. Call it Peking duck and cover. Back then, it was a theory that if any country fell under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow. North Vietnam was one of those countries. South Vietnam was not. Today, it is one country, but back then, 58,000 red-blooded Americans gave up their lives. Michael Baldwin was one of them.

    43 years ago today, he became a statistic. His body was zipped up in a bag and shipped home. That was the day I awoke to the tragedy of war. It was my first real experience with the horrors of conflict and someone I knew was dead because of it. 

    One of the things I learned, and it’s very important, was that Michael Baldwin put his country before his life. We lost so many and what did we gain? I know I gained a whole lot of respect for our fellow citizens who march off to fight. He was a man and I was a boy back then, but I still look up to him and I am now 41 years older than he was on the day he died. To this day, I’ve wondered what if he had lived. Would he have married my neighbor or someone else? Would he be bouncing his grandchildren on his knee today? Would he be happy? Or would he be mourning the loss of his children and grandchildren in our present day wars? The more war changes, the more it remains the same because death is still death and the loss of loved ones over religion and politics is still just as senseless as it was when Michael Baldwin died.

    Today, he would be 66-years-old, soon to be 67. I will remember him as a true American hero; a very proud young man. As for the identical pictures I drew, they are lost and gone but not forgotten. In my mind, the memory of them will forever remain a haunting portrait of war.

     

     

    Sgt. Michael Richard Baldwin (7/19/1947 - 9/12/1968) KIA - Binh Long Province, South Vietnam, ambushed while on reconnaissance 5 kilometers Northeast of Loc Ninh, along with:
    Ssgt. Phillip Kenneth Baker - Detroit, MI
    Pfc. Eugene Russell Boyce - Spartanburg, SC
    Sp4. Wayne Daniel Jenkins - Bryson City, NC
    Pfc. Kenneth Leroy Martin - Los Angeles, CA
    Pfc. Marion Luther Oxner - Leesville, SC
    Pfc. Dale Arden Palm - Toledo, OH
    Pfc. Kurt Francis Ponath - Cudahy, WI
    Sp4. J C Williams Jr. - Muncie, IN
    Pfc. William Wittman - Binghamton, NY

    September 12, 1968, was a long and sad day for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

    Pfc. Van Dyke William Manners (11/10/1945 - 2/15/1967) KIA - Kontum Province, South Vietnam

    To all our brethren lost in wars, rest in peace. Your deaths will never be in vain.

    I first published a different version of this story in 2006. Michael Baldwin’s cousin searched his name on Google and found my blog about a year later. She wrote me and said, “I just found your website and read your article about Mike.  I just wanted to say thank you…  It touched me and helped me remember my cousin very fondly.  He was a good guy and the last of the Baldwin men in our family.  He is remembered fondly by many of my friends who still [live] in Flemington, as well as my family.

    “I also wanted to let you know that Aunt Peg didn’t handle Mike’s death very well.  She couldn’t even bring herself to go to the funeral.  I do remember that both she and my Uncle Alvin (Mike’s Dad) did attend the memorial at Ft. Dix after his death.  That was really all she could handle.  She always said she preferred to remember people while they were alive.  I can’t say that I blame her.  I didn’t understand it in 1968, but I get it now.

    “Mike left a large impact on me.  The memorial service was really something and I can still remember the 21 gun salute at his funeral in the cemetery in Flemington.”

    Mike’s mother passed away in 1993. His sister contacted me right after her cousin got in touch with her. Here is what she told me:

    “My cousin called me and told me about your blog.  She had seen Michael’s name in it and read the story.  I read it too and also your reply to her.  I am Mike’s youngest sister.  You made me cry—but it was a good cry.

    “My family and I are so pleased that we are not the only one’s who remember Mike.  Looking through your blog and your e-mail to Mary, I found it so interesting that there are so many things we are connected through.

    “I go to church at Kirkpatrick Memorial Presbyterian church in Ringoes. Van Dyke’s mother went there before she died a couple of years ago and there is a stained glass window dedicated to him.

    “My father worked for the Forans in the foundry they owned in Flemington.  My father was friends with Walt Foran. [My friend Frank’s father.]

    “When I read your blog, I could feel that you knew Mike well.  He was a great kid and we loved him.  You talk about my mother—you may not know it but I had a brother who was older than Mike—his name was Alvin—we called him Skip.  He died in a car accident on Sept. 13, 1958.  No, I didn’t confuse the dates, it was one day short of 10 years later that Mike was killed.  It was a blow that my parents never recovered from.

    “I am so glad that you wrote about Mike, it makes me feel that we are not the only ones who remember. Thank you again for keeping his memory alive.”


    Please see: NJ Vietnam War Memorial - Michael Baldwin

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    Reader Comments (47)

    Another touching true story about a hero-make that two heroes yet all who lose their lives for our country should be called such-they truly deserve it.

    Last night I watched the History Channel's specials about 9/11 and afterward decided to listen to a few episodes of an old radio show, The Saint. Vincent Price had this to say:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrMCqOmsMB4&feature=related

    It seems apropo for today as it did after WWll ended. In a way, it's a shame that such a message still must be said.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSherry

    Yes, Sherry, the world is filled with heroes. Sadly, Mike died before he had a chance to know what a hero was, but he knew all about heroism and bravery.

    I'll listen to that Vincent Price episode... after the Giants game.

    I watched The History Channel, too. Thanks for sharing that link.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    OMG Dave, what an inspirational story. May I ask what kind of portrait you did of Mike? Was it a pencil sketch or oils? And you were only 15 years old at the time. I heard you mention that you began dabbling with art supplies at the tender age of four but did not realize that you excelled to the point of getting an assignment to do a portrait at 15. I did get the opportunity to see the pencil sketch of Lois. If I am getting charcoal confused with pencil, my apologies.

    There will always be wars. I was only six years old when World War II ended but I remember my folks being so thankful. It was a frightening time, even as a child watching my parents glued to the radio to get the latest news. I recall travelling by train to a city outside the small town in NB where I lived. When the train that my mother and I was on approached a bridge, the conductor of the train told us to pull down the blinds on the windows. We did not know if the bridge would be blown up as the train passed over it. I recall food being rationed and the ration books that were issued out to all the families

    One other thing I remember is when the troop trains passed through our town, after the war had ended.. The soldiers would throw us candy bars from an opened window. Alot of soldiers never made it back. The lucky ones made it back alive but there were those who came back 'shell shocked' never to be the same again.. My first cousin never made it back. His remains were buried overseas.

    War has impacted all of us in one way or another. There are still battles today and will be until the end of time. Thanks Dave. You never cease to amaze me with the articles that you bring forth.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    Dave, you could do your own bookjacket artwork~

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

    Hi, Snoopy. Thank you. I don't remember the precise size I chose, but the boards were at least 24x36 inches. They were pencil sketches, and I usually had an assortment of pencils such as HB, B, 3B, 4B depending on what I used them for. My burnisher was just as much of a tool, too, for blending shading. I did go back to oils in my later teens/early 20s, but I haven't painted in years.

    Of course, war will always be with us, unfortunately, but it's something I'm very much against. You have many memories. I remember growing up during the height of the cold war, hence my reference to duck and cover. WWII was the Greatest Generation. What was Vietnam? To me, it was one of the worst because of how unpopular it was. Our soldiers came back and were forgotten by everyone; the people and the government, but I don't want to harp on that. Suffice it to say, there isn't a generation, almost, that doesn't live through a war of some kind. Consequently, we all have memories, and there will be many more to come. Your train story was very interesting.

    I really appreciate your comment. It was written from the heart, just like my story. I wish people would learn. They won't.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    I could, Sherry, but I'd really have to work at it today. I'm a little rusty, but I could shake it off. Interesting idea, though. Thank you.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Very heart warming Dave. Really enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing.

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    This is my way to honor those lost in war, Barbara. Thank you for enjoying it and commenting.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Dave, this is such an awesome story. Do you know if anyone in his family still has the portrait you did of him? I would love some day to see some of your artwork that you have done over the years. I can tell by reading this story as well as your others, and see how much compassion you have for others. Your writing captures us readers from the start and keeps us captivated until the end. It is almost as if we were right there. I don't think that we will ever see a time that there is no war. I have an uncle who survived Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He doesn't like to talk about it much. I also have friend's whose sons have been in Iraq and they refuse to talk about it. They come back as changed individuals. Thanks for writing this article and keep up your good work. Some day I hope you will share your art work with us.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterMary Jo

    Dave! Now, this is the 3rd day you've gotten tears rolling down my face. What a tribute. I think we all would be pleased and honored to see whatever artwork you'd ever care to share with us. It is so disheartening that we always seem to keep the cycle of combat action going over and over- what a species.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKaren C.

    Dave~ ~one thing I forgot to mention. My grandmother resided in London during the second
    World War. She came for a vist to see us shortly after the war ended. I remember us all sitting around the kitchen table and looking at the pictures she had brought to show us. I do recall Grammie wiping away tears as she took each picture, explaining where each one was taken and the horrors they went through when the air raid sirens went off. I have no recollection of what was on the pictures but I know they must have shown the devastation from the bombing.

    Here is something that I would like to share. My parents took care of a little black dog, Sootie, for a Mr Barber who went off to the war overseas. I cannot recall Barber's first name. Mr Barber was killed in action so Sootie ended up having a permanent residence with us. My mother told me the following: One Remembrance Day, they were reading off the names of the soldiers killed in action,over the radio. Sootie was lying by her feet. When they read off Mr Barber's name, Sootie started to make a low whining noise.

    With reference to the trains. Back then, windows on the trains had individual blinds that could be hauled down to keep the sun out, I guess. The reason for hauling the blinds down was so the trains could not be spotted by any bombers overhead. A train going over a bridge would be a perfect target. The trains helped carry the troops to board the ships that carried them overseas. A bombed out bridge would cut off commuting. We did not have the sophicated radar, back then and, since Canada was an ally, we had to be always on the alert for an attack. Our mail came in fhe form of telegrams and the dreaded, 'Letter edged in Black..' I will be quiet now.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    Hi Dave Snoops everyone very moveing post Dave..Nine years since the Nine Eleven attacks led to The War on Terror. or as the civilians of Iraq an Afghanistan called it The terror of War.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered Commenterecossie possie

    Dave, you are welcome. You have a talent in your writing this story was very moving. Thanks again for sharing this with us. I am glad to hear his family was also so touched by your story of their loved one. He was certainly a hero! You must also feel good in your heart knowing your words about Michael brought comfort in his family by your words of rememberance...Very sweet.

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    Bobo Vs. The Hostile Imaginary Monkey I dont know if this link will work or not however the guy who writes this blog is terminally ill .He is often in immence phisicall pain an emotinall turmoil.Ive found his writings to be a treasure of humour an courage..

    September 12, 2010 | Registered Commenterecossie possie

    Thank you, Mary Jo. When I first ran this story, and it was completely revamped this morning, his cousin first contacted me. Then, his sister did. Both were very happy I wrote what I did. It means he was not forgotten and someone took the time to honor him. Trust me, I was honored to do it. That was back in 2007. His cousin left me a commented on Facebook today. Back then, we discussed the pictures. After his mother passed away, no one knew where her copy went, and as is the case with lost loves, the other copy could be anywhere or nowhere at all.

    Yes, you're right, I do have compassion for others, especially ones who do good in life, even if they lose. It never ceases to amaze me that people sometimes feel I have taken them on my journey. That's a good feeling, because I do like company. I guess it shows.

    No, no one likes war and I know a lot of people who won't discuss it. Others will. I know a guy who literally bathed in Agent Orange and he's still healthy. I know another guy who did the same thing and he died of complications many years ago. My younger brother did 2 tours in Iraq. Some things he'll discuss, other things are off limits. I would never ask my older brother about Vietnam. Ys, they come back as changed individuals. They were taught that the end could come at any moment, especially at night. How's that for a good night's sleep?

    Most of my artwork is gone. I did it and gave it away. Some, I sold, but I liked to do it, just like I like to write now. I should do it again sometime soon. I need to because it's comforting to my soul.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Third day in a row?! My, my, Karen. I'm sorry, and I'll try to write something more upbeat soon. To be honest, I knew he was KIA in September, but I didn't remember the day, so I was surprised when I looked the old post I wrote, only to find out it was the next day! I had to rewrite it, too, because my writing has changed over time and I'd like to think I've improved. As for artwork, I don't know where most of it is. One of the last portraits I did was of my friend, Frank's, father, a senator from NJ. That was back in the mid-80s, soon after he passed away.

    War is very disheartening, and many are fought at the whims of politicians and archaic religious leaders. Unfortunately, it's a cycle that will never be broken. Thanks for writing.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    I remember the war, The Navy had its airbase in my town. Man those sailors were cute. We had dances and romances and not too far away a bus of local girls were transported to an Army base where they had an officer's club for Saturday nite bands and dances. I was too young to be a part but not too young for my heart to yearn of romantic dreams of running off with one of those sailors. What was it about sailors? I don't know, they were just so friendly and I liked the sea. The food ration stamps were there alright. That part was good, people felt like they were also doing a part for their country. Of course the sadness comes back, 6 of my family died in that war. 1st cousins and uncles. World War II, More in World War I. Funny how much is never written about World War I, or the "Korean," What the hell was that one all about? My brother came home as someone we could not recognize, had suffered and witnessed horrible stories and pain he didn't ever want to talk about. so disturbed and worn from inside out. Died shortly afterward. The Vietnam War, just to kill a few people off is all it seemed to be and you are right, those that came home were treated like the enemy.. Was it because our government thought they could get rid of young men and women who were on drugs and that would solve all the drug issues. Didn't happen did it? Nope! Why did USA not consider the 9/ll as an all out attack declaration of a wide spread war like WW II with Japan and Pearl Harbor? I saw where someone else has asked and makes me wonder too. Deeply sorry for all the lost lives and for the families who will always have the loss in their hearts. Then of course makes us wonder what they really fight for, when we kill each other right in our own back yards, strangers, neighbors, kill babies, kill ourselves. wish people dead, if not physically, emotionally and mentally, you name it, there is always the mentality in some to make the lives of another miserable. But Yes, Thank you America, thank you who are brave and march to the call, volunteering to fight for us and our children. A circle that never ends, who wants it to? Surely not those of us who participate in domestic put downs and hatred. Also, if is was all peace and glory and comfortable with no needs and no challenges would any of us be alive here or would we be in Heaven or maybe Hell. God, we just keep trying, most of us are not heros, but those who have taken the step to offer themselves up for our sake and our safety certainly know you better than I. When I see the service men and women today they look like babies. Still so cute, now I fancy that which I am all too old for. Still love the sea and the sailors but married an Army man that I met at one of those Saturday nite dances after I got old enough to go and happy about it too. Go figure. Thank you Dave for in your hero rememberances you brings many of us to think again about what we have, with a touch of pain, but with deep ppreciation for those who have kept it available.

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNew Puppy

    Snoopy - I'm glad you are sharing a part of your life and history with us. This is how stories live on for the ages. Your personal account of your grandmother and Mr. Barber's dog is most fitting today. Poor Sootie. I believe it, too. I remember a woman ying many years ago and her dog howled and howled for weeks until settling down. It was as if he sensed she would never come back. How do they know? I believe animals are smarter and more sensitive than we give them credit for.

    I see what you mean by the blinds now; so the enemy wouldn't attack for fear of killing women, children and old people like us. Excellent stories! Thank you.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Very good, ecossie possie. I know, it's hard to believe it will be 10 years. I went to Ground Zero two days before the first anniversary and it was very hallowed ground. Around the clock, someone was on duty to call out all of the names of victims, all done voluntarily. That's when I was given an NYPD shirt and hat by one of NY's finest. He laughed when I told him recently that some nutcakes accused me of impersonating a police officer. I told him they contacted the Department of Homeland Security. He stopped laughing. I gave him the address of the Web site.

    I'll go take a look at that link you gave us. Thank you, it's always a pleasure to see you.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Thank you, Barbara. apparently, I have more talent than I'd ever admit to, but it's very nice to hear and very much appreciated. Yes, my words did bring tears of joy to his loved ones and that made it well worth writing. And then some.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    New Puppy~~I married an army man too. He was a military policeman and had a set of handcuffs but that is another story. I loved the emotion exhibited in your comments. It is nice to see people speak with such a passion. Thank you.

    Dave~~I am confusing you with those blinds on train windows. The blinds were closed so enemy aircraft could not see the lights on the train...all those windows lit up at night made a train a great target. "Old people like Dave..the Snoop is not old, just a little mellow."

    Hi Ecossie Possie...across the Atlantic.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    Thank you, New Puppy. I think the romantic interest in sailors stemmed from their travels to exotic places and a young girl's flight of fancy and a longing to see the world - to go on an adventure! They were heroes then, just like they are today. Vietnam, on the other hand, was a travesty. The forgotten soldiers. Just like Korea, it was a war no one wanted. Korea came much too close to WWII. Vietnam was Johnson's war, and in a part that was halfway around the world and where no one cared. If soldiers came back messed up, it was because of what the government did and what the people didn't do. Care. Like Korea, no one cared if the commies took over. Today, we fear another 9-11, and if democracy can take a foothold in one Middle East country, it will be a victory. It's quite ironic that the two countries that opposed us the most during the Vietnam War are China and Vietnam, no longer hated by us. If I could go to Vietnam today, I would, just to see where so many of our men died. It's also one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

    Back to 9-11 briefly. We couldn't declare war on a country. Al Qaida is not a country. Osama bin Laden rules no borders. We declared war on terrorists, but I don't know what is going on today. What will this president do?

    New Puppy, I'm glad this story brought back remembrances of days past. Yes, it is to think of what we have, with a touch of pain. Well put.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    New Puppy- What a wonderful comment- just what I know I needed to read and sensible too. When i saw the Towers fall for the umpteenth time that day on tv I knew, we all did, that the only response was "full-out" war against Bin Laden and any Al Queda we couldn't persuade to support us- that every penny, piece of equipment and soldier's precious life would have to be put on the line to achieve that one goal. That was the only "mandate". How it is that HE is (was?) still alive, after all this! With our satellite images that can show the VP where his ball is in the rough, and read the logo to boot, how was this possible? ARRGGHH! I'll stop now...

    Oh, and also the lovely memories of sailors and dances, and all good things, too- I thank you!

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKaren C.

    Silly me, Snoopy. I should have known better. Thanks for clarifying that.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Thank you, I love reading about times in other peoples lives as well. Nice to reflect on humanity in all its complications and pleasures.

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNew Puppy

    Why do I feel that I am being lured into asking a question? Clarifying what exactly, O Silly One?
    My blinds or that you are ancient?

    I best leave before you and I engage in one of our own private wars. Notice how I stayed on topic?

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    No, Snoopy, I should have known it was to shade the light. I thought it was so the enemy didn't know whether they would be attacking soldiers or innocent civilians. An honest mistake on my part.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Dave, you must have a very sweet and wonderful heart. That must be why you are blessed with so many talents. your article made me remember stories from my mother and grandfather,sad and good stories. Snoopy, I too remember them talking about the young men not being the same. My father was with Patton, he came home with alcohol problems, he never allowed my brothers to have a gun and he would never talk about it. A great tribute Dave, thank you

    September 12, 2010 | Registered Commentermargaret

    Yes Dogs are incredably loyal even after death some times.As someone born in Edinburgh I grew up with the true story of Grey Friars Bobby.The only animal ever to become a freeman of Edinburgh.. I havent figured out how to post a link on this site yet but here is a link if you want to google it? Greyfriars Bobby His master a shepard died of a heart attack on market day in the 1700s .Bobby his wee dog slept on his grave for 14 years after his death.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered Commenterecossie possie

    Thank you, Margaret. It was an honor to bring this story about Mike alive, and to remember him and all who perished in war. I recently talked to a man who was one of Patton's drivers. I wanted to sit down with him sometime and I do hope he calls one day.

    You know, I've never owned a gun, but I like target shooting and I must say I'm rather good with one. It must be that hand-to-eye coordination that comes with being artistic because I can pick up a gun and BAM! Hit the target after years of not touching one.

    I'm really glad you liked this story, because it means a lot to me.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Ecossie~~I will try and put that link in here for you...

    Grey Friars Bobby

    The link works fine...Ecossie, that is so terribly sad...

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    I fixed the link, ecossie possie. That's a really touching story. Dogs are so loyal. Thanks for that, it was heartwarming.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Snoopy, If you were six when WW II ended then that makes you younger than Dave, I am zoned out with jealousy. Are you sure it wasn't WW I ?

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNew Puppy

    Yes, come to think of it, New Puppy, you're right. I was born in '52. That was 7 years after the war ended. That would mean she was born in '51.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    World War II 1939 to 1945

    World War I 1914-1918

    The Korean war ended in 1953 didn't it or was it 1952? Hubby went to Japan after the war ended and he went in 1953...before I had even met him..

    I was never much good at history but remember numbers and dates...

    I AM OLD ENOUGH TO BE EVERYBODY'S MOTHER....NOT TO WORRY...CHILDREN..NOT TO WORRY...

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    Oh, Ecossie- That IS a wonderful story, you can't claim to be a "dog" person and not feel something when hearing about that one! Here's another- You likely heard/read that Mary Stuart's little spaniel refused to leave her skirts at execution, and then stayed by the pool of blood after? Died after a few days of a broken heart- as it wouldn't let anyone by the blood, just growled as though trying still to protect her.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKaren C.

    I didn't know that, Karen. Interesting.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Double-History minor, Dave, sad but true! Although there is much that is "traditional" and folkloric about her narrative that one seems to have been agreed upon by witnesses as a truthful event.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKaren C.

    Oh, and Good Night, All!

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterKaren C.

    I think pets are just amazing. Well, off to bed for me, too. Good night. Thank you, all.

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Knechel~ ~ You may want to take a refresher course in mathematics. New Puppy has to take a refresher in History....LOL

    September 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterSnoopySleuth

    Another moving tribute to another brave man. I'm glad you chose to remember someone from the Vietnam era with such a moving tribute. That war hit home on quite a lot of us back then. My family was fortunate to have not lost anyone. We had one in the Air Force, one in the 101st Airborne and my then husband was in the Navy. He was a hospital corpsman back then. At that time the Navy corpsmen were in the field with the marines usually with a helmet with a big white cross on it. My husband was lucky enough to have gotten submarine duty. Then the submarine Scorpion went down in 1968 right before his first patrol. It was like no place was safe. My uncle in the 101st wasn't quite the same after he returned from Vietnam and he and my aunt divorced soon after. Like in many of the wars before and since there were so many walking wounded that came home. Back then, though, they didn't get the welcome and sometimes they were even spit on. So to see such a moving tribute warms my heart. Thank you.

    September 13, 2010 | Registered Commenterconniefl

    I'm glad I could do it, Connie. It's also nice of you to share your story. Thank you. Anyone who grew up during the Vietnam era has a story to tell, whether it's good or bad. Most of it is bad, and that includes those who came home, not just the ones who died and their families.

    September 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    Great post Dave. We have reached a new era where those times are not known to those who were not directly affected anymore. A sober reminder and new lesson for some.

    September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Bobo

    Thank you, Robert. You would think by now, with all the lessons history has taught us and how we learn from the past, not to mention how top military strategists always study previous wars, that we'd learn our lesson by now. I guess it's just a human trait we'll have to live with. And die.

    September 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

    You are welcome Dave. Many were brought to your site reading about the Anthony case, but as time has gone on and we are able to read more of your inspirational stories it shows your true calling and talent for writing. I hope you will continue to write more things and I hope someone from a newspaper or somewhere reconizes your talent and many good things come your way in the future! You certainly deserve that!

    September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    Golly, gee, thank you very much, Barbara. I guess you can tell I like to write.

    September 13, 2010 | Registered CommenterDave Knechel

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