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Hello Audrey

October 20, 2022

Dear Audrey,

Recently, I spoke with your dad on the phone about your Veterans Day project in 4th grade at Daly Elementary School, home of the Mustangs. Of course, I will do my best to help you.

In the United States every year, Veterans Day is November 11th, a day to honor American men and women soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, and the victims of all wars.

The people of other countries also remember their veterans every year on their own special veterans days. They honor their men and women who have served in their armed forces.

As for me, I was an enlisted sailor and later an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1964 to 1990. I served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1971. I am now a very old veteran.

I am sending you some pictures from the time when I was a young naval officer, serving as an advisor in the river forces of the Vietnamese Navy in 1969 and 1970, more than 50 years ago.

These pictures are now old and faded, but I trust they may help you with your school project.

In those days, I was in charge of other U.S. Navy sailors conducting active combat operations against Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers in the Mekong River delta of South Vietnam.

Our job was to protect the Vietnamese moms and dads and children who lived in our area of operations. The Vietnamese are truly lovely people. You can see some of them in the pictures.

On Veterans Day, for sure, and sometimes on other days, I stop what I’m doing to remember my guys, and whisper a quiet prayer about my time in Vietnam.

I think of my friends, and the Vietnamese sailors, and marines, and special forces soldiers I used to know. Their faces pass softly in front of me. In those days, I was exactly where I belonged.

I am humbled and grateful to have been in their company. We lived in troubled times and took care of each other. I am blessed to remember them, and to keep them near, if only in memory.

The list of names of the men and women who have given their lives for our country is a long one. That is why we take a moment, once each year, to remember them on days like Veterans Day.

My Lord Jesus has always been generous with me, Audrey. Through no merit of my own, I have fallen into the hands of God. I pray that He will never let me fall out of them.

Blessings to you, Audrey, my dear one, and to everyone you love, and to everyone who loves you. We are many.

Love, Grandpa Don