Happy Memorial day. I have a couple of amazing stories of sacrifice for you today.
In 2012, after spending 40 years on a bookcase in Independence, MO, a fallen Vietnam veteran’s diary made its way to the daughter born while the diary’s author was fighting in Vietnam. The 19-year-old Thomas Francis Shaw of Fond du lac, Wisconsin, never made it home, but 40 years and 8500 miles later, his diary appeared on a table in a diner in Minnesota. It’s enough to make one believe in magic, or miracles, or at least fate.
“During Memorial Day weekend in 2012, Linda McBrayer drove to Missouri to receive an extraordinary gift: the diary her father kept when he was a Vietnam War soldier. A baby when he died, McBrayer finally got to know her father 40 years later through the journal that had traveled 8,473 miles from Vietnam to a bookcase in Independence, Mo.”
I was unable to find the video in an embeddable form, but you can view it by going to this link and clicking play.
When I went looking for the story of the young soldier’s diary on YouTube, my search turned up something completely different, but that nonetheless felt right for this Memorial Day. So here, as a bonus, is the story of a completely different young man, who has been separated from his family because of deployment and COVID. This soldier’s wife is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s and is in a memory-care facility, and their separation has been terrible for both of them.
You can listen to all of the videos in The Call to Serve Minnesota PBS collection on the project website.
If you served or are serving currently, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for your service.