Today my mom and I were in the car and she mentioned one of her favorite pics that I've taken. It is of the Vietnam War Memorial, and a finger (Tims) pointing at a particular name. Thomas E. Beglinger. I had forgotten about that one. Tom was a friend of my dads. "The brother I never had" (since his own was a bit of a prick when they were younger). He introduced my mom and dad to each other during high school. Dad went to Vietnam after he and Mom were married. Tom was drafted as well. He was killed in Vietnam. Anyhow, Mom mentioned this pic today, and then I was talking to my husband about it in the car, asking him if he thought I should send Dad a copy of that pic. We hemmed and hawed it over, and decided that yes, we would send him a copy.
Fast forward to later this evening. I'm on fb, checking things out when I get this IM:
"Your dad said to tell you, Tom Beglinger died 44 years ago today. Oct 2, 1966."
I was flabbergasted! We started chatting back and forth about this, and then Joanne told me to call the house. Dad answered and we talked for the next 48minutes.
"I was at Camp Carole I think, over in Nam. I got a letter from your mother telling me that he had been debrained. Shot in the head. He got a lot of medals and such, because he was shot after pulling someone out of the line of fire. He was like the brother I never had. We did a lot together in high school, were together a lot, then he went off to college, and I went to Vietnam. He came back from college, and then was drafted."
He then talked about the strong bonds that were formed in 'Nam when you were fighting beside somebody, for your life and theirs. He remembered that when he got his beer ration, he and his buddies always shared with which ever of them were "shootin the gun" i.e. on watch. He recalled coming back stateside, and mentioned that if he didn't have a family (me, and mom) he would have gone "right back over there, to fight alongside" his brothers.
Dad also shared that he had been thinking about Tom all day today, and decided that he needed to get drunk or something, in honor of him. (grin) What he ended up doing is getting some wings, having a beer, and calling Toms brother/father, (I'm not sure which) Norman, to tell him, "Hey Norm... Bob Sonricker here. Just wanted you to know, I didn't forget." Can you imagine how much that meant to Norm?
This was a really good conversation for us to have. We've always been able to talk about his years in the service, I guess as the child that was born while he was at war, and the one who has been a staunch supporter of the POW/Mia cause, we've always had that in common. I'm glad that I could give him that outlet tonite, a safe place to talk about his feelings and memories. It was obvious that he needed it, and I feel only too honored to have been on the other end of that phone.So... I just needed to get this down in my blog. It seems that Mr. Beglinger was making sure I reconnected with my Dad today. Thank you Sir, and I assure you, I will NEVER forget.