I am 77 yrs old and soon to hit 78 and reflecting on the past becomes increasingly important to me. As I sit here typing my thoughts today I am well aware at this very moment
my youngest son and his wife are flying off to Washington D C on both a business and pleasure trip.
I visited Washington D C once but for the life of me I can’t remember when or how. All I remembered of the trip, and it is very vivid in my memory bank, I visited the Vietnam Memorial, and I do believe it was the only site I did visit or at least remember.
Back in my latter high school days as a member of 43 in my graduating class we had a basketball team that was pretty good. Iowa did not have a class system ( A, B, or C ) for ranking so a school representing a town of about 600 and surrounding farming area progressed through year end tournaments to eventually compete against bigger and bigger and bigger school systems. Our pride was that we made it to State Tournament having won District, then Regional, and finally on to State. My bride and partner of today was Kathleen, one of three cheer leaders. I was part of the five starters and our bench was not very deep. Those from our followers who didn’t make the trip to Des Moins were glued to the radio as we advanced through State Tournament play only to be let down just a little as we lost in the finals both our junior and senior years. I remember the welcome home when our bus load of players and a bus load of fans were led down main street by the town fire truck and town police car with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Pride in the eyes of those lining the street for us who had gone so far.
Now back to Washington D C. I remember walking up to that Vietnam Memorial and seeing that sad but awesome display of names by the thousands of deceased soldiers, all in alphabetic order, chiseled out in that one contiguous black slab of stone. As I carried my piece of paper and pencil I found the name I was looking for.
David Mueller, was our point guard from that Iowa Basketball Team. He was the shortest player of any of us standing only about 5′ 6″ but he made up for his height by amazing skills as a leader of the team. He could feed the ball to any of us who got open for a shot like non other. David lost his life after being drafted for Vietnam shortly after we graduated High School. It was reported that he drowned while crossing a river in the Mecong Delta of the Vietnam Jungle
I placed my paper over his name, and rubbed with the pencil so as to record it on the paper, I remember tears streaming down my cheeks. It was probably one of the most emotional memories that I have from my past.
Funny how events of today trigger thoughts and memories from ones past, both happy and sad. Travel Safe Bill and Heidi. I am thinking of you today.