Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembering (from 2012)

I never blogged about this last year so thought today would be a good day to remember...

Last Memorial Day our city unveiled war monuments in front of the library containing the names of each and every soldier from the city who died while fighting for our freedom.  Each stone represents a different war.  The ceremony followed a parade and as the tarps were lifted, taps was played and gunshots were fired.



Our family gathered in the crowd to honor and remember my dad's brother Gary who lost his life in Vietnam. 

  
The ceremony was beautiful and as the soldiers saluted many tears trickled in the crowd.  Years may pass but families and friends will never forget the sacrifice of a loved one's life.  I am proud of our city for helping us all remember to recognize and pay tribute to the memory of each soldier from Trenton, Michigan who flew or sailed far across seas and into foreign lands to fight for our freedom and in doing so lost their lives.  


We are remembering today!  

This is one of the letters my uncle wrote home to his pastor while serving in Vietnam:

24 Sept. 1967
Dear Rev. Jones,

You'll have to excuse me if I started this letter wrong, cause it's the first time to a man of the Gospel. I really don't know what to say, but I'll try anyway.

To get things straight, my name is Gary W. Holbrook, son of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Holbrook, 2216 Grange Rd. Trenton. If you will remember I talked with you a few times before I left for Vietnam.

I guess that most people getting letters from the men in Vietnam, would like to know a little about what it's like over here. This is the way I think of Vietnam.

The mountains are beautiful even if they are Vietnam mountains, and the water in the rice paddies is so clear you can see yourself in them. The sun is like a great light that never ceases to let you know it's always on the job. And at night the beauty of this far eastern country is unexplainable. I guess you might say it's like one of Walt Disney's Kodak Colored Pictures. That's what Vietnam appears to be like. Only God and the men that are over here giving up their lives truly know what Vietnam is like. to them it is always hot, wet, muddy, and above all lonely. All the outward looks of beauty that pertain to Vietnam's landscape and Vietnamese people is just a falsehood which hides death or destruction behind every bush or from the vast low banks of the lonely green paddies. During the day when the sun is shining brightly above and sending life to this ever expanding vastness of green foliage and jungle terrain. The fighting man must be especially leery because from these beautiful grass lands and majestic jungles there are those who would take his life if given the chance.

During the night when all is still and peace seems all around you, (for Vietnam doth truly seem peaceful at night) once again you find the American fighting man awake and waiting, for during these hours of blissful peace and constancy is when the enemy takes advantage of our fighting men, for at these beautiful times he sometimes lets his mind wander back to his loved ones far across the ocean, he asks himself, "Is it all worth it, being over here amongst all this beauty which is only a front for death?" He asks himself, "Is the price of peace and happiness for his loved ones too dear to pay with his life?" All these questions and many more run through these brave young mens' minds and there is still the same answers with God on our side and us being a free people and believing in Him, He will stand by our side no matter what the price. For I'm an American fighting man and will do my best to serve my God and my country. And although Vietnam is truly beautiful, it is just as deadly and even more so lonely for the American fighting man. Well I guess that's enough of my philosophy about Vietnam.

Well Reverend, I guess there really isn't much more to say except that I'm pretty sure I am not the only one that has a strong and compassionate feeling for Nam and it's people. I would certainly appreciate it if you would pray for all of us over here, and maybe some Sunday you could give a sermon on Vietnam, so people can do a little more about it then just say, "Well Vietnam's way over there and I am over here." I believe they should be made to realize that there is a little of each of us over here living and dying to help us all free and save, for tomorrow the sun will surly shine on a free and God-fearing people. I will also send you my address in case there are a few people in the church that might want to write. Thank you very much for listening to my problems. I only hope God heard them as well.

L/Cpl. Gary W. Holbrook U.S.M.C.

P.S. Feel free to tell others what I wrote, maybe it will give them a better understanding of what goes on over here. 




2 comments:

Melissa Sikora said...

Em, this is a beautiful post. Your uncle's letter has such a timeless message, I think. Thank you so much for sharing it.

That Loud Redhead said...

Wow, what an amazing letter. All the more poignant, knowing that he paid the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you for sharing.