Sam graduated with 42 guys in his class; out of those 42, 28 of them including Sam went to Vietnam. The plan for his platoon is that they would be dropped in, because of a miscalculation by the powers that be, they were dropped to soon behind the line and directly into an ambush. When Sam awoke in the Hospital, without his dog tags, he was the only one of the 28 from his High Class that had survived. His family in Puerto Rico received a telegram and an American flag stating that he was dead because his body was not recovered. With the help from a military priest, he was able to contact his family to let them know he had survived. After two months in the hospital he was able to go home carrying not only the pain of loss of his friends, but burned legs and shrapnel in his shoulder.
When he arrived home there was no ticker tape parade no welcome home. He faced angry hurtful words from people who hated the war and anyone attached to it. The returning soldiers were called enemy, evil and murderers. His mother was very scared for him and so he introduced him to a priest friend of hers who took him into the monastery for over two months to help him get through his anger and pain from everything he had experienced. He confessed to me that he doesn't believe he would still be around if it weren't for the church. I can't put words in his mouth but I believe he was wanting to say it was because of God but we were in mixed company as his story continued to unfold.
After he was well he stayed in the reserves. His brother was also in the military, just like their Father before them and their Grandfather before him. His brother volunteered for a rescue mission and was killed. He told me he still has the flag that was sent to his family that was supposed to be for him, but to him it represents his lost classmates.
To me all of those boys that risked their lives and the ones that lost their lives fighting someone else's war, are and will forever be heroes.
We will Never Forget.....
Love, peace and celebrate the forgotten heroes