For those who gave all #4

Discussion in 'Road Trips/Touring' started by mc2, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. mc2

    mc2 Active Member Contributor

    November 11, 2015

    To Veterans: Thank you & Welcome home
    To those serving: May God protect them, and may their families find comfort in his presence
    To those who passed: They live in memory.

    HARLEY TRACKS: Across Vietnam to The Wall excerpt #4

    National Highway 1, December 4, 2012, twelve days to departure

    "Traffic lumbered over the highway with no concern for me, nor I for them. I knew each section of blemishes, mindful for a surprise, and rolled carefree. Then, while I rounded a curve to the left, a container truck in the opposite direction swung out from the back of a convoy. My 60 mph into his 35 or 40 closed the gap fast. I shifted into the moto lane where his momentum had carried him. Debris shot out and dust rolled as the driver cranked for the asphalt. Inches separated the Fat Boy from a four-foot drop into a flooded paddy. A splash flashed into my mind, but I was not about to take a dive without a nudge. I held my..."

    Saigon, aka Ho Chi Minh City, December 10

    "The tops capped the crates, and Ms. Mai called to assure me they would be delivered for loading that afternoon. I told her to keep me informed because I didn't leave the country until the boat hit open water."

    Washington, D.C., May 25, 2013

    "The end of the West Wing stood less than a foot high. John H. Anderson, Jr's. name was cut into the first row of polished black granite. Another 58,478 names obscured a mirror image of the crowd on 70 panels to the east.

    Private First Class John H. Anderson, Jr., of the 82nd Airborne, began his tour of duty on my birthday, only seventeen days after his own birthday celebration in 1968. Twenty-five days later, he was gunned down in the Thua Thien-Hue Province. He was twenty years old. I expected his family painfully had reminisced their celebration a month earlier. The beaches and the delta of Hue contrasted with his home country of Wellsville, Pennsylvania, near York, a home to Harley Davidson. But the foothills of Thua Thien would have brought back memories. I wondered if he had dreamed of riding a new Harley over those hills back home.

    The path descended with a clear reflection of the crowd. Within the images, each name absorbed a piece of the living. I looked not only at the names of the fallen, I looked back with them, and thought about the land they saw last, and which of them I rode past. Flags, photos, and mementos lined the base of The Wall. Past the apex, which rose above my reach, sunshine crept up the East Wall. I counted panels down to 30E, then lowered my gaze to Line 41: John M. Dunbar, James Ofarley, Gregory S. Fennimore. "Hello Greg, I'm Mike" I said, "I have a message from your Uncle John." I took a deep breath and repeated John's words with the weight he gave them to me. Then I thought Greg should know how John was doing; I know he would pull a favor for him.

    Greg landed in Vietnam on September 10, 1967. He was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in the Tay Ninh Province, a sweltering delta region northwest of Saigon. Seventy-one days later, he was killed in action. He was nineteen years old. Except for that odd rock that protruded 3,000 feet above the paddies, Tay Ninh was as flat as his homeland in Indiana. I wondered if he got to the top of that rock for a look into a valley, now a flooded reservoir.

    I dropped to a knee and bowed. In silence I spoke. "I've come a long way by faith and spirit..."

    Photos available in Chapter 14 & Chapter 15 at: