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grandchildren- 3 of the joys of my life.Picture Taken August 2001I will never forget sitting on the plane at the Spartanburg SC airport on my way to Vietnam, by way of Travis. The pain, literally physical, was the most intense I can ever remember. I could see the faint outline in the window of Jackie and Meg watching.

Leaving and going through the door to the plane was excruciating. Meg was sobbing uncontrollably and holding onto my leg and would not let go. She would not be comforted. I didn't want to cry, after all, I was a paratrooper.

I sat on the runway for what seemed to be an eternity. It wasn't only leaving, it was apprehension, a gamut of emotions. Vietnam, I knew, in my , was the right thing to do and what I wanted to do. In fact, I had been apprehensive for awhile that Vietnam would get over before I could get there. I was a soldier and it was what was happening but even with all of those desires, still, it was very painful.

For me, Vietnam was the defining event of my life. In a sense, it was also our country's pivotal time and I wanted to participate in it. I did and I'm glad.