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Serving the Present... Remembering the Past...
Air Force Weather


A Family Reunion At The Vietnam Wall
The story speaks for itself, great words.......

    By Patrick Camunes

    "There are so many things that are written about the Wall but
never anything of being on the other side. I was inspired by the picture
Reflections that I use as wallpaper on my PC and a recent story, Autumn

    At first there was no place for us to go until someone put up that
Black Granite Wall. Now, everyday and night, my Brothers and my
Sisters wait to see the many people from places afar file in front of this
Wall. Many stopping briefly and many for hours and some that come on a
regular basis. It was hard at first, not that it's gotten any easier, but it
seems that many of the attitudes towards that war that we were involved in
have changed. I can only pray that the ones on the other side have learned
something and more Walls as this one needn't be built.

    Several members of my unit and many that I did not recognize
have called me to the Wall by touching my name that is engraved upon
it. The tears aren't necessary but are hard even for me to hold back.
Don't feel guilty for not being with me, my Brothers. This was my destiny as
it is yours, to be on that side of the Wall.

    Touch the Wall, my Brothers, so that we can share in the
memories that we had. I have learned to put the bad memories aside and
remember only the pleasant times that we had together. Tell our other
Brothers out there to come and visit me, not to say Good Bye but to say
Hello and be together again, even for a short time and to ease that pain
of loss that we all share.

    Today, an irresistible and loving call comes from the Wall. As I
approach I can see an elderly lady and as I get closer I recognize
her.......It's Momma! As much as I have looked forward to this day, I have
also regretted it because I didn't know what reaction I would have.

    Next to her, I suddenly see my wife and immediately think how
hard it must of been for her to come to this place and my mind floods
with the pleasant memories of 30 years past. There's a young man in a
military uniform standing with his arm around her......My
God!......It' has to be my son. Look at him trying to be the man
without a tear in his eye. I yearn to tell him how proud I am, seeing
him standing tall, straight and proud in his uniform.

    Momma comes closer and touches the Wall and I feel the soft and
gentle touch I had not felt in so many years. Dad has crossed to this
side of the Wall and through our touch, I try to convey to her that Dad
is doing fine and is no longer suffering or feeling pain. I see
my wife's courage building as she sees Momma touch the Wall and
she approaches and lays her hand on my waiting hand. All the emotions,
feelings and memories of three decades past flash between our touch and
I tell her that it's alright. Carry on with your life and don't worry
about me......I can see as I look into her eyes that she hears and
understands me and a big burden has been lifted from her.

    I watch as they lay flowers and other memories of my past. My
lucky charm that was taken from me and sent to her by my CO, a
tattered and worn teddy bear that I can barely remember having as I grew
up as a child and several medals that I had earned and were presented to my
wife. One of them is the Combat Infantry Badge that I am very proud of
and I notice that my son is also wearing this medal. I had earned
mine in the jungles of Vietnam and he had probably earned his in the deserts
of Iraq.

    I can tell that they are preparing to leave and I try to take a
mental picture of them together, because I don't know when I will see
them again. I wouldn't blame them if they were not to return
and can only thank them that I was not forgotten. My wife and Momma
near the Wall for one final touch and so many years of indecision, fear
and sorrow are let go. As they turn to leave I feel my tears that had
not flowed for so many years, form as if dew drops on the other side of
the Wall.

    They slowly move away with only a glance over their shoulder.
My son suddenly stops and slowly returns. He stands straight and
proud in front of me and snaps a salute. Something makes him move to
the Wall and he puts his hand upon the Wall and touches my tears that
had formed on the face of the Wall and I can tell that he senses my
presence there and the pride and the love that I have for him. He
falls to his knees and the tears flow from his eyes and I try my best
to reassure him that it's alright and the tears do not make him any less
of a man.

    As he moves back wiping the tears from his eyes, he silently
mouths, God Bless you, Dad...... God Bless, YOU, Son...... We WILL
meet someday but in the meanwhile, go on your way...... There is no
hurry.......There is no hurry at all.

    As I see them walk off in the distance, I yell out to THEM and
EVERYONE there today, as loud as I can,.........THANKS FOR
REMEMBERING and as others on this side of the Wall join in, I
notice that the US Flag that so proudly flys in front of us everyday, is
flapping and standing proudly straight out in the wind today.....


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