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Letters: Remembering Memorial Day

This Monday is a sad day for me remembering all of my Buddies I left in Vietnam.

You always hear that “It gets better with time.”

Well as I am living proof, that is not the case. Fifty-two years ago in the jungles of Cambodia, myself and five of my buddies were assigned to the 1st Cav and attached to the 9th Infantry division. We were on a LZ (landing zone) about three clicks (kilometers) inside the border of Cambodia.

There were about 35 of us that would go out and patrol and be gone about 10 days only to return to regroup for a day and then return to the field. Usually out of the 35, about 8-10 of us didn’t make it back.

Every time we went out, I knew I was next. The six of us would talk about when we would get back to “The world,” we would get together and reminisce about our time in that “Hell-hole.”

Well, one by one they paid the ultimate price. We were all 18 and 19 years old and I knew most of us would not make it home for that 10-year reunion.

Fifty-two years ago, the last one died in my arms. He was hit in the chest. He was telling me laying there in the mud that there was a lot of pain he was feeling. Five minutes later he told me that the pain was gone. Then, he said that his eyesight started to fail. Then a warmth went through his body. He then said “See you on the other side.”

I think of all five of them every day, especially Lacy being the last one. I’m not writing this for people to feel sorry for them or myself. I am writing this to remind everybody that they should not judge people on the outside and to remember the fallen.

They have no idea what is going on in the inside of their heads. I know I have survivors guilt. I should have been the sixth one. “Why not me?” is a question that I ask myself every day. However, there must of been a reason that I was spared.

If you see a Vet, walk up to him or her and let them know how much you appreciate them and make them feel like you really do care.

When I left my wife to go to war, she went through her own war not knowing if I was alive every day. I missed my daughter being born and growing up the first few years also. We have all learned that “freedom” comes with a great sacrifice.

Anyway, I have rambled on for way too long. I hope that my five buddies look down on me today and say, “We will wait for you on this side when you finish up with your work with the Veterans.”

Anyway, Lacy and my other Brothers, save me a spot up there. Until we meet again.

Take a few moments this Monday and remember the fallen.

— Royal Goodman,

U.S. Army - Vietnam,

1st Cavalry, 9th Infantry

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