Lighting a candle for a fallen friend
On our way back to Ho Chi Minh City today, we drove by a Catholic church in Cu Chi – probably the same parish that helped supply those rabbits my father’s unit gave to the villagers 40 years ago. The church was closed, but my father left a lit candle in the courtyard as a Veterans Day tribute to his friend Lt. Joe Lingle, the Virginia Military Institute graduate killed April 25, 1967 – a month after he and my father had arrived in Vietnam.
Joe and my father had met at the Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, and had served as instructors with the school’s weapons department before they were both assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam.
On Memorial Day a few months ago, my father escorted Joe’s mother at the unveiling of a war memorial in Hanover County, Virginia, honoring the county’s fallen soldiers. Mrs. Lingle was very moved by my father’s participation in the event, and she dedicated a brick for Col. Neroulias on the memorial walkway.
Through this blog, the Lingle family is now following his return to Vietnam and the places where he and Joe served together.