For Veterans Day - I have something else very special to share. For those
of you who are a Veteran, or are a friend or loved one of a Veteran, or lost someone in Vietnam, or any other war for that
matter, this will need no introduction, but because I'm long winded, you're going to get one anyway.....
Over the last few years, I've received some wonderful emails, mostly from men who
didn't know my brother, but were still his brothers, and many have told me they were even thicker than blood, because
they had to be. Each and every one touches me to my soul and I love them all...but this one - I felt compelled to share
for Veterans Day. James says it so much better than I - his words echo in many of our hearts.."The words belong
to all of my brothers - they were giants - each of them"
Dear Ms. Dixon:
A busy day must be put aside for a few moments so
that pen can be put to paper. I did not know your dear brother, Pat, but he is my brother.
Autumn of 1967 through the early Summer of 1968, I had the great privilege of commanding a rifle platoon with Charlie Company
3rd Battalion 1st Infantry 11th Light Infantry Brigade. We forayed out of LZ Liz in Quang Ngai Province and up into
Quang Tin Province. This was Southern I Corps and a very, very nasty place. We were in regular contact with North
Vietnamese troops and Main Force Viet Cong Guerillas. Your brother operated in III Corps. This was quite
far to the South of where I was located.
I was a nineteen and a half year old Army Infantry officer.
The greatest job in the world was commanding a rifle platoon. I was authorized 44 soldiers in my platoon. The
most I ever had was 32 and at one point in time, we were down to 14. 1968 was the bloodiest year of the War with 16,489
Americans KIA. God only knows how many Vietnamese died. There were some weeks when 400-500 Americans were KIA.
I cannot imagine it. There was no oxygen in the Jungle. We breathed Death. It dictated our every move. There
were no politics in that Place So Far From God. We simply tried to keep each other alive. One brother took care
of another brother, took care of another brother... There was no one to help us. We only had each other.
I was terribly wounded during combat in June of 1968 at age 20. I spent 18 months getting pieced back together at Walter
Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. I was retired at the ripe, old age of
23 due to my wounds. I then went
to college and law school on the G.I.
Bill. I have been a career prosecutor for 20 years and am running for
Court Judge in the March, '04 elections. I have been married to a miracle named June for 32 years and we have been blessed
with 4 children: Caitlin 21 and a senior at UCLA and 3 sons: James Francis 16, Dolan Christopher 13 and Liam Hennessy 8.
We live on a small farm in the heart of the Wine Country of Northern California about 70 miles North of San Francisco.
The Good Lord has been more than generous to me. I am humbled and thankful
for it each and every day. I left many, many brothers behind in the Jungle. I carry each one of them, including
your Pat, in my heart. It is where they are closest to me. It is where they belong. He is not heavy because
he is my brother. The courage, love and sacrifice of them on a daily basis stuns me to this day. We reached out
to each other every moment. We gave of ourselves for each other every moment. I cannot describe the Jungle for
you. Combat is like walking on the edge of a razor blade; unless you have done it, it defies description. I can
tell you that I saw and experienced, on a daily basis, the brightest bright of the human condition and the darkest dark of
the human condition. People will never ever know the beauty, honor and love that managed to exist in the Jungle.
I think that the Good Lord only desires that we try and lift ourselves above the human condition, if only for a moment.
In doing this, we can experience, if only for a moment, what is beyond this life called the human condition.
I can tell you, Ms. Dixon, that all of my brothers lifted themselves up,
if only for a moment and saw wondrous things.
Please know that, at the
moment of his death, the Good Lord reached out his hand to your dear brother Pat and said "Take
my hand, my brave, brave child." Please know that at the moment of his death, your brother was with his brothers who
loved him and honored him. Please know that at the moment of his death, Pat lifted himself up and saw wondrous things.
I am so very sorry for your loss and all the years you have spent without your brother. He was several months older
than me. I grew up in Pennsylvania not all that far from Pat's neck of the woods. I loved cars and I sure did
like to slow dance with pretty, young ladies.
I trust that my words have not upset you. My intent is
quite to the
contrary. All these years later, I am absolutely amazed that I made it out of that Place So Far From
God. I am amazed that I, somehow, now look over my shoulder and see it all. I take enormous pride in doing what
few human beings had the courage to do. I am blessed by my fallen brothers. I will speak of them. I will
tell of their greatness. When you feel sad for your dear brother, please remember that he sleeps the sleep granted to
those who placed love above fear. We were afraid every moment of every moment, but we carried love in our hearts.
Never, never again must our precious youth be cast aside for half hearted political folly.
"I have beheld the agonies of War through many a weary season;
seen enough to make me hold that scarcely any goal is worth the reaching
by so red a road."
"The prayers are said
And the people rest
For sleep is there
And the touch of dreams
Is over all."
"The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings."
"Think where Man's Glory most begins and ends,
and say my Glory was I had such friends."
William Butler Yeats
James Patrick Casey
United States Army Retired
Republic Of Vietnam 1967-1968
Senior Deputy District Attorney
Sonoma County District Attorney's Office
Santa Rosa, California.
PLEASE HELP US COMPLETE OUR
NO MEMORIAL PAGE IS COMPLETE WITHOUT PHOTOS
AND OURS IS NO DIFFERENT.
THESE 98 BRAVE MEN ARE MORE THAN JUST NAMES
- THEY ARE MEN WHO GAVE ALL AND ARE ALIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR FRIENDS, AND THEIR VETERAN
THEY ARE ALIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO
LOVE, HONOR, RESPECT AND REMEMBER WHAT THEY SACRIFICED FOR US ALL.
THEIR NAMES ARE ALL LISTED HERE -
BUT NOW, WE HAVE BEGUN TO ADD PHOTOS.
MANY, MANY THANKS TO THE FAMILY MEMBERS
WHO HAVE BEEN KIND ENOUGH TO SEND ME PHOTOS FOR OUR MEMORIAL PAGE.
PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE A PHOTO AVAILABLE.
I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO PAY POSTAGE OR ARRANGE FOR PICKUP AND RETURN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A COMPUTER FILE PHOTO AVAILABLE. I'LL
BE GLAD TO MAKE YOU A COMPUTER GENERATED COPY SO THAT YOU CAN PAY TRIBUTE TO YOUR LOVED ONE ON OUR SITE - OR ANY OF THE MANY
WONDERFUL VIETNAM VETERANS DEDICATION WEB PAGES AVAILABLE. ALL PHOTOS WILL BE RETURNED IN SAME CONDITION AND AT
NO COST TO YOU. THANK YOU!
ANOTHER VERY MPORTANT PART OF THE MEMORIAL
PROJECT INCLUDES CONTACTING FAMILY MEMBERS AND/OR FRIENDS OF EACH OF THE 98. EVEN IF THEY WANT NOTHING TO
DO WITH THE MEMORIAL AT ALL - THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT THEIR LOVED ONE IS PART OF THIS MEMORIAL.
IF YOU ARE A FAMILY MEMBER, OR KNOW A FAMILY
MEMBER - PLEASE CONTACT ME.
THANK YOU :)