"With Complete Disregard For His Own Safety"

I just had a very sobering moment. My iPod speaker ran out of batteries, so I began searching through my dad's dresser drawers to find batteries. I had no luck, as most of the drawers were clothes, but then I opened a drawer that was mostly papers. I found a few Christmas cards saying "Don't get too plastered", "Tell the boys they can go to hell", etc. All the cards and postcards were signed "Tony". I didn't remember any people named Tony, aside from our dog. The next paper was in an old envelope, flaky and brown. It was dated 1965 from the U.S. Marines.

My dad had always told me about a friend of his who died in the Vietnam war, and I'd found his name on the Wall in Washington, DC, but I never thought about him much. I shook the paper out of the envelope and began reading. "It is of great sorrow that I inform you of the death of . . ." Oh God! It mentioned "Anthony" and referred to him as Tony throughout the rest of the letter. Shocked, I kept reading.

To summarize, Tony's company was ambushed by the Viet Cong in heavy mortar and gunfire. Tony and several other men were wounded. Instead of sitting around, waiting for help, "With complete disregard for his own safety" Tony grabbed a medical bag and began treating his friends' wounds. It was at this point that he was shot by an automatic weapon and instantly killed. "He died a hero."

I was so shocked. It never occurred to me that my dad had named the dog after his best friend. I slowly put the letter back in the envelope and shut the drawer, sitting there on the floor, blown away. I couldn't even imagine what that would've been like, trying to save your friends' lives WHILE YOU'RE MORTALLY WOUNDED and then getting shot AGAIN. He did die a hero. I could only aspire to live up to the courageousness. And I'm posting this here because I don't want anyone to forget, ever.

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Responses (1)

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Boutros May 21, 11
There's something very awe-inspiring in looking out for others when you yourself have never been worse. A hero indeed.
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