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Guest Opinion

Strictly Joyce

Mattawa Area News of Mattawa, Washington

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This seems like a good time to run this column. Memorial Day is for our servicemen who died in war, but some of them fall into another category. They didn't die in the war, but the war cost them in the end. For some it cost everything. I wrote this a couple of months ago.

I woke up with tears falling on my pillow today. We returned from our cousin's memorial service. Steve Johnson was a Vietnam vet, a proud American serviceman. He was awarded medal after medal as a fighting member of the 101 st Airborne. He dropped dozens of times into enemy territory; was part of the Tet Offensive and Hamburger Hill. Horrible things he saw.

In a scrapbook his former wife brought to the memorial, he had written on a scrap of paper. "Pray for me. I'm a grunt."

And pray the folks did and Steve came home after serving two tours. He came home, but the memories of Nam came with him. He never really made it back. His was a rough life. He was haunted and died too young. There were plenty of tears and sobbing at the memorial service and just when you thought you couldn't take it, someone would stand up and tell a funny story and we'd rock with laughter. Our send off for Steve Was fitting for a man who loved family, laughter and music. Steve was fun and when life was going good, it was really good. You would have loved to have known him. Steve's brother Randy spoke of his brother, of how he knew the good and bad of him and loved him no matter what. Randy said that he talked to the last two people who had spoken to Steve before his body was found. They said Steve talked to them about Vietnam and about Jesus. What Steve talked about at the end really made sense to me. The war was something that never let go of Steve and Jesus was who Steve never let go of. That's the last thing he was clinging to.

So we said goodbye that day, his children with broken, but peaceful hearts. That's the thing about this family; we believe we'll see each other again at the end of this trip. Steve, he made it, and he's singing and playing the guitar where war can never touch him again. Go rest high, our war heroes, go rest high on that mountain.



Copyright 2010 Mattawa Area News, Mattawa, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

© 2011 Mattawa Area News Mattawa, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from DAS.

Original Publication Date: May 26, 2010



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