Today was a sad day. Today an American soldier was laid to rest. No, he did not die in battle but he left a piece of himself behind in Vietnam. He was a good man with a big heart. He was a son, a father, a brother, and an uncle. He loved animals, children, his family, his country, and most of all, his son. His son was his pride and joy and his reason for living. I’m thankful that he lived to see him graduate from college and get get engaged.
I never had the pleasure of knowing him before he went to Vietnam; I only knew him after. He was always quiet, reserved, and very private. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. His love of books and reading was profound and he instilled that love in me and my sister at a young age. I remember him saying that books could take you anywhere, let you experience anything, and open your mind. How right he was. Last year alone I read over 50 books. My enthusiasm for reading started with him. He also loved his fish. I don’t remember a time that he didn’t have at least two aquariums. His passion for salt water aquariums was almost contagious. I’ll never be able to watch a clown fish frolic and play in an anemone without smiling and thinking of him.
The man I knew struggled with PTSD, alcoholism, and depression but he never once complained or laid his troubles on anyone else. He was a good man, broken by war. It is such a shame that a man who gave so much of himself for his country had to have such a sparse and paltry memorial service. He led a simple life with little need for material possessions or wealth. His family has lived a life of poverty and struggle as well. I find it shameful that our government could not provide a proper burial for one of its sons. His ashes will be scattered along one of his favorite creek banks and placed on his father’s grave. I’m sure he would have liked that. His family was able to say goodbye to him today. Time will heal the heartache, but he will not be forgotten.
Rest in peace, Uncle Herman.
Herman Jones Nov 3, 1950- Dec 23, 2011