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Linda Michel White
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Linda Michel White   My Press Releases

Seniorisms by LMW. Memorial Day Remembrances

Published on 5/23/2019
For additional information  Click Here

My late husband was a Vietnam Veteran…  He was a Navy Seal who served for 37 months “In Country…”  He volunteered for the first Veteran’s Stand Down in our county…  He knew many homeless veterans & I met some through him…  Most were homeless by choice, but a few sought help… I felt bad for the ones who were living on the street, one in particular…  His name was Pete…  Sorry I don’t remember his last name…  I do remember that he was from somewhere in New Jersey…  Before he went into the service he had been a Volunteer Fireman for his small town…  My husband “Billy,” told me that because Pete was of a slight build he was perfectly suited to become a “Tunnel Rat…”  That term is used to describe someone whose job it was to go down deep into the tunnels that the Viet Cong dug for themselves, and clear their way through them by any means…

I don’t remember if he served one or two tours…  If he only served one, it was one too many just like so many of our young men who wound up over there…  When Pete returned he never went back home…  The horrors of war were just too great, and haunted him with PTSD…  His self esteem was another casualty…  Pete lived on the street so he could drink to try to forget, but I guess that could never happen… 

I’ll never forget him…  Like so many others he was a super nice person…  He always treated me with respect…  When Billy & I would happen to meet him we would invite him over to our little apartment for a shower & a home cooked meal…  You would have thought that we had given him a seven course dinner…  Of course the meal would make him sleepy, and he would crash on the couch…  That didn’t happen often because he never wanted to feel like he was imposing on us… 

When I would see him when he was drinking he was still a gentleman…  Billy & him used to talk whenever they would get together, and I would mostly listen…  Billy had his own demons to fight…  I tried talking to Pete several times about getting sober, but I guess he felt that was mission impossible…  One night it must have been too much for him…  They found his body the next morning behind one of the bars where he used to hang out…  Pete wasn't that old when he died...

Billy didn't know it at the time, but he had inpired me to write a Welcome Home for the Vietnam Veterans…  He was so proud that I wrote it... There are two copies in The Library of Congress, a copy in The Smithsonian Institute, and a copy in The National Naval Museum at The Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida…  I had the privilege of dedicating it to Pete because Billy asked me to recite it at his funeral…  Needless to say, I was only too proud to do that even though I had to wipe the tears away as I was reading it…  

I hadn’t thought about him in a while until I saw this video today…  I’m so grateful to have been reminded of him…  I’m just so sorry that his story didn’t have a better ending…  I have always felt that we lost an entire generation over there…  I was truly blessed to have met some of the homeless from that era…  I will end this with one of my favorite hymns…

Dedicated to Pete & This Brotherhood

who have all sacrificed...

May God always be with you...

Signing off 'til next time this is,

Linda Michel White

LMW stands for

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