Once again you do us proud, thanks for the thoughts that you have shared. It is troops like you that we have been trying to reach and get into the Brotherhood for over 18 years. Thank you for mentioning Pete Mitchell and all that he does at the reunion. I was remiss during the Ceremony and should have called him up to thank him for all he has done over the years. Before the internet we never could have contacted so many veterans it has been a real plus on reaching out to those who need a place to come to celebrate their military service.
For instance, we have just lost a Brothers wife (John Nowlin’s wife Barb) both of them have been there from day one and Barb was a special lady who we will never forget. John was the one who spoke at the Ceremony as he is our surrogate Chaplain. When I called Pete to tell him about Barb and John’s need to reach their son in Spain through the Red Cross, Pete jumped on the task and pretty soon the Red Cross was asking him to call off the “dogs” that their son was on a plane. It seems that each year we are losing more and more of our troops and now the wives. Over the years we have had men come who knew they had a very short time to live, and who come and bring their families to meet the people they have such a strong link to. One of my former Lt’s came a few years ago who had brain cancer and knew his time was short, he brought his sons and son in law to see the men he had served with and who had been such an important part of his life. Shortly after the reunion Jack left us for a better place where he could rest. Over the years we have had young men who came to find out what happened to their father in Nam, how he was killed and who was with him. We also have had Mothers, Sisters and other children who came and some who still come who came to find out more about their loved ones. One young man in particular who came from Colorado several years ago left with a weight lifted from his heart because as he said, ” Now I know that my dad was proud to serve his country and when he was killed there were people there who loved and respected him and he did not die alone”. As you said in an earlier message, I served 3 tours in Nam, I also served 2 in Korea and had always had trouble even talking with my family about my time in service and the horrors I had witnessed. Years ago when Dave Cook/Lew Percy found me in Texas and told me I should come and be with my kids and I took my family from Texas to Virginia to see what they meant. Only then did I really feel free to discuss my experiences and the pain I had felt. This Brotherhood of 327th and any other Service Member who have served our country need to attend this reunion because like you say until you open your heart and soul to people who have been through what you have been through can you speak openly and have the closure that we all desperately hope for.
We are so happy each year to see new faces there who share our past and who understand the need for this gathering. Hopefully, we will continue to add names to our list and to the reunion and next year we hope to have active duty troops attend also. There is always room for ANY Veteran who has proudly served our country and we hope they will come for ONE time and then return again and again.
The wives, children and grandchildren play a very important part in this gathering and we are thrilled that several of the troops bring their parents who also have become such an important part of our group. Even the caterers who do such an super job in feeding us at the reunion came this year in 101st shirts and have sent messages thanking us for allowing them to become part of the this 101st family.
Above the Rest, No Slack, RLTW and Airborne all the Way!