This is my Grandpa–Merced Ralph Romero, though he went by Ralph. He served in the Army.
Actually, there were five boys in the Romero family, and every single one of them served in the Army.
This is my great uncle Robert Romero. He was just a kid from Wyoming, until the Vietnam War that is. Then he was flown far away, far overseas, far from the mountains of home and plunged into the jungles of a strange land. He served as an E-4–about as low on the totem pole as you can get.
He was a combat medic, and on December 3, 1969, he was killed in action.
Just a 21 year old kid from Wyoming–who died because he was helping other soldiers. It was the very act of helping them that caused him to give his life–and for this he was awarded the Silver Star Medal–our nation’s highest awards for valor in combat given in Vietnam.
Just a Wyoming kid, just my uncle I never met, just a guy who gave his life so that you could live yours.
My Uncle Don died when I was just a tiny girl, then Grandpa passed away last year, so did his brother Roy, now only my Uncle Ren is left. If we don’t remember, if we don’t pass along these stories, if we don’t remember the people behind the names these boys become statistics.
Just numbers of casualties of war.
Just names carved into a big black wall that some people don’t even bother to go see in Washington DC when they visit because “it’s not a big deal” to them.
But if we remember, if we realize, if the tears come for the sacrifice of those who loved us with the greatest love though never met us…..
Then we honor them, and we honor the day.