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January 16, 2006

"Draw the words of my story..."

Kat honors her uncle:

I am tired after two days at the hospital with only a catnap on the waiting room couch. I feel I cannot do the kind of fitting tribute here that he deserves as a man that was well loved and respected. In the movie "13th Warrior", the character Buliwyf, having left his father's inheritence on the shores of the Volga to return to Norse Land to fight the dreaded "fire worm", was dying slowly of blood poisoning. He said to Antonio Banderas' character, Ahmed, that a man with nothing might be thought a king if another man "drew the words of his story". My uncle died with little having given it all, in the end, for service to his country. So, I wanted to give him this last gift, that some might read his story and think him a king.
In his shadow box he has two purple hearts, a bronze star with V device, and several more commendation medals including, of course, his Vietnam service ribbon. There was also a piece of bent metal on a chain he had worn as a necklace in Vietnam after his M-60 took a round meant for him. The piece had flown off and stuck in his chest (one of the purple hearts). If it hadn't been for the M-60, it would have been a 7.62 round in his chest instead.
[ uncle's last helicopter in Vietnam was selected by the Smithsonian to represent pilots and crew of the era, having been shot down once and recovered, then shot many times, but repaired and still flying, it was one of the longest serving Huey's in the Army. Another helicopter from the era came to Kansas City with an assault helicopter crew association. My uncle took us to see the helicopter and, as a special favor, we were allowed to climb into the helicopter and sit in the pilot and gunner seats. Just another one of our biker day trips.

Then there is this. I think you Vultures could perhaps tap into reservoir here. He was Door Gunner. The Armorer asks that all who are motivated, do a little bit here.

The king was dead, long live his story.

The wake will be next Thursday and the funeral on Friday. When he died, they were very much in debt. His kids are having a hard time trying to figure out how to pay for his funeral. Because he died from respiratory failure associated with the pneumonia he contracted, the VA is not certifying his death as "service connected" so his wife is getting very little in terms of assistance from the VA or Medicare. I am not asking for money, but I would like to know if anyone knows of any veterans associations that might help his family pay for his funeral or offer other services. I know he did not belong to the VFW, but I don't know of other associations. We know that he could be buried at Leavenworth with no money paid for the plot or headstone, but his family is trying to honor his wish to be buried in the same cemetary as my grandparents so the cost is slightly higher. Still, the highest part is the other necessary activities regarding preparation of the body, the casket, etc.

If you know of any groups that could help, please email me at kehenry1 at hotmail dot com.

Thank you.

The whole piece, well worth your time, is here.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance, In Memoriam.