Monday, November 23, 2015

8th of November

Bud's Mom, Lottie, May, 1987
For more than thirty years, ever since Bud and I have been together, the 8th of November meant the birthdays of his Mom and sister - the first two of many family birthdays during this month. Lottie would host a dinner for us and almost always bake a marble cake - her son's favorite.

This morning I heard a different meaning for the 8th of November. It is the title of a song by Big and Rich. I had gotten away from listening to current country and western (still nostalgically listening to the songs from the 60's, 70's & 80's) which is why I missed hearing John Rich and Kenny Alphin's tribute song to Lawrence Joel, Niles Harris and the 173rd Airborne Brigade ten years ago. (8th of November was on their 2005 Comin' to Your City album released November 15 that year.)

The song begins "Hello. I'm Kris Kristofferson. On November 8, 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump, War Zone D in Vietnam were ambushed by over 1200 V.C. Forty-eight American soldiers lost their lives that day." He gives some more information and then Big and Rich begin singing. You can read more about it and listen to their song here.

Naturally I think of Bud when I hear anything related to Veterans and their service in Vietnam. Even though he wasn't in country until 1968 and was with the 101st Airborne, not the 173rd, so many lines from the song could be about him: "With the fire rainin' down and the hell all around, there were few men left standin' that day."

Bud in Vietnam 1968-69

"He was dropped in the jungle 
Where the choppers would rumble"

Earlier this month, thinking I would post it on Veteran's Day, I scanned in this photo.
Bud's 'official' Army photograph
I know my children and the grandchildren have not seen this picture before. The day he got home from Vietnam his parents were at the airport in Omaha to pick him up. While he was arriving a cousin of mine was there, with his parents seeing him off, leaving for Vietnam. I'm so glad Bud and Dale both made it back home.

 The young men who served in Vietnam were never welcomed home. It was just the opposite, they were ostracized. I wasn't living in our hometown when Bud came back. It would be another twelve years before he and I got re-acquainted, but he has told me there was one of his classmates from the Class of '63 who did welcome him home....
Betty's H.S. senior picture

Bud's H.S. senior picture sister, Betty, and her husband.

(My niece reads my blog. I think she will like knowing that.)

"Said goodbye to his momma as he left South Dakota
To fight for the Red, White and Blue
He was 19 and green with a new M-16
Just doin' what he had to do."

The 8th of November will have another meaning for me from now on.

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