When I was very young, 7 or so, I heard a strange noise in the living room. I went there to find my mother sitting on the edge of the couch, head in hands, weeping.
"What's wrong, Mommy?" I asked. I did not know mothers could cry.
"Jerry's gone." she sobbed, and shooed me away. I went back to my bedroom and thought, "Jerry's gone back to Vietnam." I did not understand the implications. She did.
Thank you, Gerald Francis Newell, for your love of country and patriotism. Thank you for calling us from your field radio and answering our letters. Thank you for coming home when so many unfortunate others did not. Thank you for loving my sister and raising two fine children with her. Thank you for your strength in physical adversity as you suffered through three Agent Orange related illnesses: Diabetes, Psoriasis and Cancer. Thank you for your immense courage as you fought for life, taking every precious breath with "I will not give in." Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your service.
And thank you to the other members of my family and yours who have served these great United States.
Elwood E Hall – great grandfather
Melvin Donald Soutar, Sr. - father
Robert Elwood Decker – uncle
Donald Decker – uncle
Melvin Donald Soutar, Jr. – bother, deceased
David Edward Soutar – brother
Joseph Corbett – brother in law
Thomas Conner – brother
Babette Kovtun – sister
Rebecca Rose Soutar Belcher – sister
Lance Belcher – brother in law
May you ever be blessed.